Faces of The Fellowship: Daniel and Danya
The Fellowship | April 26, 2017
When Daniel was diagnosed at birth with severe cerebral palsy, the doctor recommended that his parents leave him behind. His father did just that, abandoning his wife and son. But Danya, Daniel’s mother, loved her son and vowed that she would do whatever she could to give him a good life.
For the past 13 years, Danya has cared for her boy day in and day out. She cooks food, mashes it up for him so he doesn’t choke, and slowly spoon feeds him. She bathes him, changes his diapers, and massages his stiff muscles.
Daniel is unable to walk or control his movements. Despite all of his disabilities, Daniel is a clever boy who loves to learn. His mother has devised a way to teach him math and reading. Her devotion and patience are remarkable. “My son is a regular boy whose body fails him. My job is to help him have a happy and complete life despite his disabilities. I did not ask for this, but I have embraced my God-given mission with my whole heart,” Danya told a Fellowship coordinator.
Sadly, they are desperately poor. Danya has not been able to work because she has a full-time job caring for her son. They live off the meager disability pay they receive, which barely covers rent for their drafty and cramped one-room apartment. Danya picks through the trash in the market for fruits or vegetables, and mixes their tiny rations with water and flour to make them seem more filling.
They have never had the luxury of enjoying new, proper clothing. Danya picked up some worn-out clothes at a charity shop, but the thin material does not keep them warm in the winter. The cold aggravates Daniel’s cerebral palsy, making his movements painful and uncomfortable.
When the Fellowship coordinator delivered a clothing voucher for new, warm clothing, Danya knew her suffering would be a little less this winter. “I have taken every step of this 13-year journey on my own. This coupon is the first time that God has sent me a sign that I am doing the right thing – and that other people out there care,” Danya said.
Danya took Daniel to a popular clothing store in town. It was the first time he’d ever been to a clothing store, and he couldn’t stop smiling at the care and attention he received from the assistants.
As they took their warm, new clothing home, Danya said, “I am deeply grateful to Rabbi Eckstein and The Fellowship for their kind generosity. We will be warmer and happier this winter than we have ever been before.”