Ivan Radkova aged 15 who suffers from spastic cerebral palsy, is described by his mother as a prisoner in his own body. Despite his physical challenges his mother Pavlina knew he had an active and intelligent brain and was determined to fight for her sons education despite the difficulties she faced getting him to school.
Ivan was born two months premature and weighed just 3lbs 8oz. Doctors insisted he would not last the night and tried to persuade Pavlina to abandon her son. Pavlina refused to turn her back on her child and 15 years on the triumphant duo are still fighting against all odds.
Pavlina explained: I knew Ivan could and would survive and we have spent this entire life working towards the very best care I can give him and the most normal education I can find.
A normal education for Ivan meant a three hour journey to school which culminated with Pavlina carrying her son the final 15 steps to the school entrance.
We heard about Pavlinas plight following a hard hitting documentary about Bulgarias abandoned children made by award winning film maker Kate Blewett. We knew there was something we could do to help this family so set the wheels in motion to have a stairlift made delivered and we installed an outdoor stairlift outside Ivans school. explains sales director Jules Allen.
We contacted The Bulgarian Abandoned Childrens Trust (TBACT) and were put in touch with Pavlina and the school. It was a difficult project as we met with some resistance from the school who were resistant to change but after six months of negotiations the stairlift was in and running for Ivan.
Kate Blewett who now heads up the charity TBACT and has produced a raft of award winning documentary films designed to provide insight into care practices overseas has followed Ivans progress. She said: What we strive for in all our documentaries is that they literally do help to change peoples lives. Our aim is to raise awareness and expose some of the hidden issues that go unseen by the outside world. Acorn Stairlifts has done what so many organisations fail to do. Take notice, take interest and take action.
This level of support and input after seeing our films makes every part of the documentary making process worthwhile. We can and we do make a difference and the expertise and support of companies such as Acorn is vital to helping improve lives.
Today Ivan is in the 7th grade and still attends a regular school. Pavlina says he is permanently happy smiling and has faith in everyones goodness. She added: In a world where there has been so little support, where so few people have listened and where I have been left to manage Ivans illness completely alone the generosity and kindness of one UK company felt overwhelming. The stairlift meant that physically Ivan and I could easily manage the stairs and emotionally. I finally felt supported heard and not ignored.
Our Sales Director Jules Allen said: Our aim was to make a difference to someones life and knowing how Pavlina has struggled but ultimately triumphed in her incredible care of Ivan is an incredible story and we feel privileged to have played a part in supporting her quest and Ivans dream of getting access to a normal education.