Good News: Everything falls into place for a Ukrainian in need

Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 10:30 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Although living in a world apart, these friends were recently united. Dima and Natalia live in the Ukraine. A program to help Ukrainians with the English language has formed a friendship with Patricia Oliver.

“This family means a lot to me. She’s a teacher, I’m a teacher. We’ve made a special connection,” said Oliver.

Despite the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the friends correspond regularly – normally about day-to-day events, but recently something very serious came up.

“Natalia’s husband Dima needed a procedure called a Bentall Procedure. It’s an emergency open heart surgery to save his life,” said Oliver.

Imagine being in a war-town country with limited resources and in need of a surgery to save your life.

Patricia sought the assistance from ENGIN Ukraine, the language assistance program and a plan was concocted to get Dima out of Ukraine to Miami for the emergency surgery. Against the odds, travel arrangements and connections with the right people in the medical field fell into place.

“It’s like a lot of doors were opening for us and that was an incredible experience. We felt there was a higher hand helping us, honestly,” said Oliver.

A surgeon, for example willing and immediately available.

“Dr. Allen Stuart at HCA Mercy Hospital in Miami performed the surgery and it was just absolutely wonderful that the family contacted him and he responded right away. It was just a miracle for them,” said Oliver.

Amazingly, a second medical emergency struck while the couple was in Miami.

“Her husband had the surgery and that very same night, about 1 a.m. I got a phone call. Natalia had her own emergency as she was waiting in the room with her husband. She was in pain, she had a kidney stone that needed medical attention. So she herself had to be admitted into the hospital and spent two days in bed there”

Thankfully, both are safe and recovering well for now.

“It’s been nearly two weeks since her husband’s surgery and he has been able to leave the hospital and he’s still in recovery,” said Oliver.

It may not lead to a dramatic story like this, but Patricia encourages others to get involved in helping others.

“ENGIN Ukraine needs volunteers. They’re always looking for people like myself, a teacher, or just regular people that can spare some time, once, a couple of times a week. Maybe one student, maybe more than a student,” said Oliver.

“Her husband needing this surgery, it was just so important for me to try to do something. I didn’t do much, but what little I did, she said it made a difference. And that makes me feel happy,” said Oliver.

Teaching Ukrainians to learn English, making international friendships, and saving lives at the same time. Now that’s some good news.