Pawel, vascular surgeon from Torun, as recently as one year ago, was performing complex surgeries, operating on abdominal aortic aneurysms and critical limb ischaemia as well as providing emergency care to victims of accidents, thus saving many lives. Throughout his seventeen years’ career as a surgeon, he had operated on thousands of patients, sparing no effort to save their lives. In an ideal world, his story should continue for many years to come. However, a merciless illness has put a sudden stop to his successful career as a surgeon, and now he himself stands in need of help of others in a fight for his own life.
Pawel is known amongst his friends and associates not only as a brilliant doctor with a great heart, who would always make himself available to others, relieving their suffering with his kindness and sense of humour. First and foremost, they know his as a devoted husband and father to 9-year-old Klara. No one, not least himself, saw the blow coming. The symptoms at the onset of the disease were barely noticeable – at first, a tingly sensation in his right hand, then – in the entire arm. Performing operations was becoming harder and harder.
As Pawel is only 43, it never crossed his mind he could be suffering from anything serious, and in any case, doctors often neglect their own health while focusing on treating others. However, once he became unable to perform his regular duties, he turned to tests, and then to neurologists, for answers concerning his condition. The sentence came swiftly – he was suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS.
ALS is one of the few modern illnesses which, so far, cannot be effectively treated. Its cause is unknown and it takes a different course for each patient. At the start, fasciculations or the small involuntary muscle contractions appear, which then lead to the weakening of individual muscle groups, then - of the entire limbs, and, eventually, of the whole breathing apparatus. As a result, the use of a breathing device becomes necessary. Death is inevitable, and it usually occurs within the 3-5 years from the onset of the disease. The cruel fact is that the patient remains fully conscious and aware throughout, right until the very end, despite being unable to as much as blink an eye. Pawel, as late as February of this year, was able to walk on his own. He was still able to fulfill Klara’s great wish of visiting a husky farm together. Now, however, both of his arms have been affected and he is bound to an electric wheelchair. His daughter, being only 9, is unable to come to terms with her father’s illness. Despite that, she is doing her utmost to assist him by helping him to eat or dress. Witnessing such unconditional love and bond between a father and a daughter breaks one’s heart…
Up until now, in spite of his family’s and friends’ persuasions, Pawel was unwilling to accept help from others. He was relying on his own resources, as well of those of his loved ones, to meet the enormous costs of medication, rehabilitation and care. He was refusing to raise money through public collections, as he believed there were others whose need was greater that his own. Now, however, the situation has taken a dramatic turn, as he was selected for a stem cell treatment. At the moment, this is the only therapy in the world which offers him not only a chance at halting the progression of the disease, but also at reversing some of its symptoms.
The treatment could start soon. However, its cost is prohibitive. We will not be able to make it without your help. If Pawel is unable to start the treatment is a near future, the disease will inevitably progress, and there will be no reprieve.
Pawel is an excellent doctor, with a thorough knowledge of the disease he is up against. He is braced and ready to fight it and beat it, but to win this battle, he needs the support of an entire army of kind-hearted people.
We have faith in the efficacy of the treatment, and we believe it will be possible for Paweł to halt the disease, and that he will be, once more, able to help others – this being, ultimately, his goal and mission in life. The cost of the treatment is unfortunately enormous, as it exceeds 3 million Polish zloty. This is the price of Pawel’s life, and the fight could start in November! Will you please help us? Can we make it ?
Wife, daughter, family and friends.