After his family went through tissue typing they discovered his father was the best match. The surgery was a success! Vladimir went several years without any major issues, however, when he was 18 the veins in his esophagus burst and he nearly bled to death. He now needed a liver transplant.
His second transplant surgery came with some complications, and although Vladimir recovered, his donated kidney started to fail. He needed yet another transplant surgery. He spent the next five years on hemo-dialysis until another donor answered his prayers.
Despite constant battles, Vladimir never let his conditions define him. He fought hard through each one and came out a winner every time! Today Vladimir is a strong and healthy adult. His positive attitude helped play a role in his recovery, but he believes he had one more thing on his side: the power of a wish.
Vladimir had always been in awe of the Grand Canyon. Its sheer size reminded him of the mountains he faced after each diagnosis, but its beauty was a sign of the hope that was in every day. He knew he had to see this world wonder in person.
But even after meeting with his wish granters from the Make-A-Wish® Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana chapter in 1993, Vladimir still couldn’t fathom that his one true wish could actually become a reality. It seemed bigger than the Grand Canyon itself.
“When I first found out about my wish being granted, I really couldn’t believe it was true,” Vladimir said. “All of the hard work that went into making my wish come true is something that both me and my entire family are truly grateful for and will never forget.”
Everything about his wish experience was more than Vladimir had imagined. From the helicopter ride set to majestic music to the sense of relief the entire family felt as they just enjoyed the time together, it was a magical time.
“It also gave us hope that there truly are generous and genuinely nice people in the world that enjoy helping other kids and families,” Vladimir said.
So where is Vladimir now? He just celebrated his third anniversary as a certified physician assistant at Southwest Medical, a dream that began during his years under the care of many doctors. (Fun fact: Southwest Medical also served as a community sponsor for our Wishes in Flight Campaign in 2017!) Vladimir also volunteers within various groups around the valley. He knows how important the support of family, friends and even strangers can have on one’s outlook.
“Despite hardships in life, if you keep fighting and have hope and support from community and family, life can still be good.”
We are so very proud of Vladimir and are grateful for all the ways he is paying it forward.