The plight of a sick Russian toddler, whose father joined relief efforts here after the Great East Japan Earthquake, has spurred a Facebook site seeking donations for her costly medical care.
One-year-old Anna Melnikova is being treated for leukemia in a Tokyo hospital. Anna is the daughter of Eugene Melnikov, 44, an emergency situations ministry official from Khabarovsk in the Russian Far East. Melnikov participated in relief activities in Miyagi Prefecture for about 10 days shortly after the earthquake and tsunami in March last year.
With his daughter in a Japanese hospital, Melnikov and his wife have been dealing with high medical costs and the language barrier. Noticing their difficulties, some Japanese and Russian people in Japan are supporting the family by calling for donations and taking up translator roles in gratitude for his efforts during the disaster.
In April this year, Anna was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. With officials at the Japanese Consulate in Khabarovsk acting as go-betweens, Anna was admitted to a Tokyo hospital. Doctors there discovered that they can save her life, but the treatment is expected to last a year and a half and cost in the tens of millions of yen because Russia’s medical insurance does not apply. Ten million yen is worth roughly $125,000.
Melnikov said he had sold pretty much everything to finance his daughter’s treatment--such as land and a car--but the family still needs more money.
Tatsuo Mizuno, 40, who lives in Osaka and is married to a woman from Ukraine, learned about Melnikov’s situation through a network of Russians in Japan. Some Russians and Japanese, including Mizuno, formed a group to save Anna and set up the Facebook site in late April.
“This support is like a dream,” Melnikov said, adding that Anna’s weight has started to increase.
To learn more, go to http://www.save-anna.org/jp.
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