ROMANIA — Didina was paralyzed at age 22 due to an unknown condition. Then for 30 years she lay in a small dark bedroom wanting to die to get free from the bed that felt like a prison.Joni and Friends Wheels for the World volunteers heard Didina’s story and came to provide her with physical therapy. After seeing her condition they didn’t know if they could provide Didina with a wheelchair that could meet her needs, or how her body would respond to being moved.
Despite uncertainty, the Wheels for the World team found the right wheelchair for Didina. And when her family successfully transferred her into the wheelchair, Didina finally got to come outside—out of the dark and into fresh, clear daylight!
Patty Hasimoto – Physical Therapist:
Well, when we saw Dudina for the first time, honestly, I didn’t think we had anything that would accommodate her. She’d been in her one room, like a bedroom, for 30 years. She was paralyzed with some condition when she was 22 years old. I have no idea what her diagnosis is. I just know that she can’t move her legs and arms.
I didn’t know how to comfort her, because I thought if we weren’t able to get a wheelchair that would accommodate her, her wishes would just be futile and she would just have to stay in that bed and even if we came, we couldn’t do much for her.
Sometimes there’s just no words to say to a person like her. I wasn’t even sure if we could bring her any hope. I was worried about if she was going to be fearful of being moved from one place to another, if she would tolerate being upright.
But my biggest fear was transferring her out of her bed to the wheelchair. So her mother said, “Well, let me change your clothes and you guys wait outside.” They put her in the chair themselves. Oh my goodness, I thought we were going to. God answered our prayer.
Kathren Martinez – Team Member:
She was so excited. She didn’t have a desire to die anymore. She wanted to see the people out on the street, and she wanted them to see her.
Samuel Mitrofan – Ministry Partner:
So this generation of kids never suffer. So they are happy also to see her.
I don’t know why I was worried. I should know that God would take care of all the details. And he always does. I feel like God was telling us that we should bring a lot of wheelchairs to the Gypsy village and minister right there in their community.
I could feel like there was such a strong need there. It was so evident. And we were only on one street. And they were so grateful. And people were crying. And it made me cry. It’s hard to keep your composure in a setting like that.
We had people coming to us and saying, please come into my house, come into my house. I have somebody in my house that is disabled also. “Can you help us.” That was just one street. There were many streets. There was just so much need there.
I felt like God was telling us, “You should come back to this place. This place, my people need you.”
About Joni and Friends
For 40 years, Joni and Friends has provided the hope of the Gospel and practical resources to people affected by disability around the globe. Ministry programs include Wheels for the World, Family Retreats, the Christian Institute on Disability, and church ministry training. Joni and Friends also delivers inspirational media such as the Joni and Friends radio program and podcasts. To find out more, please visit www.joniandfriends.org.
- Global News Alliance, Wheelchair Allows Didina to See the Sky for the First Time in 30 Years
- Joni and Friends, Official Website