Three years ago, Vlada Kravchenko attended a party as a strong and healthy teenager but left in an ambulance, paralysed after a lighting structure collapsed.
Today, the 19-year-old is organising her own party to show everyone how stem cell treatment has begun changing her life, and pleading with the Maltese to help her “finish the job”.
After three trips to the Neuro Vita clinic in Moscow, which cost more than €30,000, Ms Kravchenko – who is of Ukrainian origin – is already showing huge signs of improvement.
Standing up with the help of a walking frame – something she could not do before the treatment – the former gymnast and aspiring model addressed a press conference yesterday to thank all those who helped her in her quest to dance again.
“When I decided to make my story public and launch the campaign, I wanted to create awareness about how stem cell treatment can help spinal cord injuries. Now my research has been backed up by my own experience,” she said, pointing out that the treatment must be supplemented with determination and motivation. Ms Kravchenko said the experimental treatment, which uses her own stem-cells, had enabled her to stand up and she was slowly regaining strength around her body, even though she still needs a wheelchair to get around comfortably.
Though she is still fighting for compensation in court (one of the companies responsible for the lighting structure has since liquidated, making this more difficult), all her expenses have had to be covered through donations.
She said that if she did secure some form of compensation, she was willing to give most of it to charity to thank the Maltese for their generous support.
Now a group of Maltese party promoters and performers (incl-uding some who had performed at the party where she got injured) are organising a big party to help her generate the funds she still needs to conclude her specialised treatment in Moscow.
“It’s going to be a great event for an even greater cause,” she said.
The party, entitled Aim High, will be held at Sky Club in Paceville on April 16 and will feature local artists like Kristina Casolani, Muxu, Christabelle Borg, DJ Ruby, Toby and Joseph Armani – all of whom are performing voluntarily.
Free invites can be collected from Blackbull, Plush, Twenty 2 and Q bar, but attendees are also asked to submit a small contribution on entry. The party is being organised by Oldskool Promo.
Those interested are urged to log on to www.helpvlada.com or call 9997 5665 for more information. Without an invite, those attending will pay a €10 entrance fee at the door on the night.
A number of bands, including Tribali and Winter Moods will be selling their merchandise on the night to raise money for the cause.
Ms Kravchenko said her campaign had raised more than €35,000 over two years but she needs a similar sum to conclude her treatment.
Donations to the Vlada campaign can be given by SMS (50617382 – €2.33, 50618918 – €6.99, 50619201- €11.65) or via bank transfer to BOV account number 4001824391-6, entitled Help Vlada Campaign.