Two years ago Russian newspapers published a dramatic story about Leonid Stadnik, a village resident of Ukrainian province. The man suffer from his own height: Leonid was 254 centimeters tall back in those days. It has recently become known that the tallest man in the world is still growing.
Leonid Stadnik lives in his house in a small Ukrainian village of Podolyantsy. The man has to take quite an effort to be able to enter the house: he is almost twice as high as the doorway. Stadnik, 35, is a huge man indeed, although he is very kind and absolutely not aggressive despite all of the problems that he has to experience in his everyday life. His unique height as well as the size of his hands and feet is not of natural origin. Leonid became a giant because of doctors’ efforts. He used to be a common boy, a straight-A student at school. The mutation happened after the removal of the brain tumor. Neurosurgeons said that the tumor was the size of hypophysis. Doctors touched the brain organ during an operation. The incident subsequently gave rise to anomalous processes in the body of a healthy sixth-grader. In addition, Leonid mother, Galina, said that the surgeons also damaged the optic nerve during the operation.
The shoes that Leonid wears nowadays are 62 centimeters long. It is very hard for him to walk and even to move: Leonid can hardly control his own legs. When he walks he needs to hold on to something – it could be a tree or the roof of his house.
Leonid’s mother has recently been operated on. The woman had a thigh-bone fracture, which was further aggravated with poor treatment at a local hospital. The gigantic man’s mother had to be operated on repeatedly in Kiev . This time the operation became possible owing to the help from Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko.
“When I started growing they took me to the Institute of Neurosurgery in Ukraine. The doctors said that all internal organs were developing proportionately to my increasing height,” Leonid said.
Leonid has been declared a disabled person. He receives 326 hryvnas (the Ukrainian currency, the amount equals $60) of pension according to his status. The pension of Leonid’s mother is a little higher – 386 hryvnas. Needless to say that the family lives from hand to mouth.
“I did not know before that there are so many kind-hearted people in the world! Almost all the mail which comes to our village today is addressed to me. People write letters send packages and gifts,” Leonid says.
The giant is now a proud owner of two King size beds – the presents from local entrepreneurs. Last year Leonid welcomed the delegation of Belgian shoe-makers. They brought many pairs of custom-made shoes and many pairs of two-meter long shoelaces. The old pair of worn-out shoes worn by the tallest man in the world was sold on the Internet for 2,500 euros. The profit was used to purchase sweets, biscuits and other foodstuffs for children who suffered from the Chernobyl disaster.
The personnel of a Kiev-based telecommunication company presented Leonid with a computer in the beginning of the New Year. The PC has become the man's biggest hobby in life. Furthermore, Leonid Stadnik’s yard has been equipped with a satellite antenna, which allows the man to enjoy the unrestricted Internet access.
The Internet has become extremely important for the Ukrainian giant. Leonid is doomed to spend his life as a lonely person. That is why the World Wide Web is the only chance for the man to see the world and have friends. “Winter was the saddest time of the year for me before. I was depressed all the time and did not want to see anyone. Now I have something to live for. I want to know more about the world and help those who probably share the same fate as mine. I often have phone calls from Norway, Japan, Australia and many other countries of the world,” the man says.
Leonid continues to grow. He has become two centimeters taller in a year. He has serious problems with the musculoskeletal system because of inconsistency between the height and the muscular structure. The man needs special orthopedic devices, but they are not manufactured anywhere in the world. A special order is too expensive.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov