Story of the unwavering strength of a mother raising a child with a disability


When an incurable illness enters the family, it is frightening. Especially when it strikes a child. Natalia Terekhova, an Odessa native, learned about her son Artem's diabetes seven years ago. Initially, she didn't know how to cope, but later, she found the strength to become a strong support for him and, subsequently, for others.

No items found.

Today, Natalia manages all the social projects of Odessa's oldest charitable foundation, "Dobry Samaritan." The foundation has been active for 30 years, with Natalia being part of the team for 26 years. Despite the circumstances, Natalia found the strength to work even harder and help hundreds of thousands of people, even during wartime.

She shared her thoughts on disability in Ukraine, her personal search for meaning, and the assistance she provides to others in the project "Women. Inclusion. War" for RBK-Ukraine. Here are her words:

"The Key to People's Hearts with Disabilities"

I remember when we received the test results for my son, showing a fourfold increase in blood sugar. We rushed to the hospital for examinations. I didn't fully comprehend what was happening at first. My son was two years old when it happened, and he was gradually losing his activity and losing weight. We knew something was wrong. We were searching for answers and did not expect such a diagnosis. That night, I turned to God with the question, "Why my son?"

I had been a volunteer at a charity foundation since I was 19. I believe, don't drink, don't smoke, wish good for everyone. So why did my son get such a severe illness? This question remained unanswered for some time. But then I realized that God had given me the key to the hearts of families with disabilities. That's how my new phase in life began, with dozens of projects dedicated to the topic of disability.

Artem has been living with diabetes for 7 years. He is involved in sports and music, attends school. He did well on the entrance exam for Gymnasium. We are looking forward to September 1st and are a bit nervous because he has never been in a class with 30 other children. We hope everything will be fine, and his diagnosis won't hinder his socialization in a new environment.

"With the Arrival of Occupiers, Diabetes in Children Became More Frequent"

The first stage is a very tough period. Life is divided into "before" and "after." You realize that this disease requires constant attention. When I heard from doctors about the terrible consequences and potential risks, the ground was slipping from under my feet.

We felt like we knew nothing about this disease. We had to pull ourselves together, learn quickly, practice, and give injections. There can be up to 10 shots a day. Even a slight miscalculation of the insulin dose can be dangerous.

Over these 7 years, we've learned a lot, overcoming many difficulties. Now I help others. We have a large community where everyone helps newcomers. Unfortunately, with the arrival of Russian occupiers in our homeland, diabetes in children has become more frequent. The stress brought by this war is very hard for children to bear, even if they move to another country. Nights spent in corridors or bomb shelters. Constant worry if a parent is serving in the military.

You can read the full interview on the pages of RBK-Ukraine. The project "Women. Inclusion. War" is a joint project of RBK-Ukraine and the NGO Epiprosvita.