A charity that provides a home for seriously ill children has complained that they keep being evicted because of superstitious locals worried they might “catch cancer”.
The disgraceful behaviour was made public by Julia Romeiko, who is the founder of the “Save A Life” (Chulpan Khamatova) charity in the Russian capital Moscow.
She provides accommodation close to a local hospital for seriously ill children undergoing chemotherapy. Many are not allowed to remain in hospital while in between treatment, but also cannot afford in their weakened state to travel backwards and forwards to homes which might be many miles away.
She said: “These children have been weakened by chemotherapy, their immunity levels are at zero, and some of them come from Siberia or the Far East. The time between treatment sessions is sometimes weeks, and they cannot spend that time in hospital but also cannot travel backwards and forwards.
“Rented apartments near the hospital are out of the range of some parents, and so we provide them with an alternative.”
She said that she had a property where children were provided with accommodation on Miklukho-Maklaya Street in Moscows Konkovo District, but they were forced to move out when about 40 people complained to the landlord and signed a petition over fears they might “catch cancer”.
As a result, they moved to another apartment, this time in the south of the city, but now they are again being threatened with eviction after people in the new apartment also started a campaign to have them moved on. She did not reveal the exact address to local media because she didn’t want to risk even more people worrying about being close the kids and joining the campaign to have them moved.
She said: “I know it is not always like this, sometimes charity projects like ours quickly gain support from the entire community, people donate food, and toys and other things, but here they don’t care. It starts with demands to know what the risk is that they can be contaminated with the same disease – they don’t seem to realise that cancer is not a threat to anyone else. In fact it is more likely that the kids with their weakened immune system might catch something from the other people in the apartment.”
She said the campaign was so vitriolic that it not only involve bombarding the management company with demands that children be evicted, but also calling police which scared the children.
At the moment she has four families staying with her with their children who are weakened and seriously ill, and trying to build up their strength ready for the next course of chemotherapy.
Julia, whose age was not given, added: “I don’t know what is on the minds or in the hearts of people who want to evict seriously ill children. Only God knows, only God will be the judge.”
Julia added she was shocked that people were naive enough to believe that you could “catch cancer” which is not a disease that can be spread from person to person, and also complained that authorities had not done anything to support them against the attacks by local residents. She said when police arrived they had listened to the complaint but after looking round had done nothing, and then simply left.
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