The president was on his day-off. He decided to visit a sick boy who sent him an invitation
Dima Rogachev, a patient in the Russian Children's Clinical Hospital, has recently sent a letter to President Vladimir Putin. In actuality, it was an invitation to drop by for a cup of tea and some blini. Adults made fun of Dima's idea. Last Sunday a high-ranking visitor suddenly arrived in hospital.
No sooner had Dima shut down the computer in a hospital classroom, Vladimir Putin appeared right before his eyes. The president looked very real wearing a light grey suit. He was apparently in a good mood. The president was fresh from the Kremlin where his deputies told him that the rescue operation off the Kamchatka Peninsula had been successfully completed.
The president was on his day-off. He decided to visit a sick boy who sent him an invitation.
“Hello, how are things?” said Mr. Putin and smiled at the boy.
“Hello, things are Okay,” answered Dima. He was apparently taken aback by the president in the flesh.
The president asked Dima if he was good at computers. The boy said he was. The president promised to buy a new PC that would be hooked up to the Internet. The boy got really excited at the news. Then Dima took the president on a short tour round the post-surgery ward where the boy had spent four months.
Dima's story began some time ago. Dima is from the village Penevichi of Kaluga region. One day he was diagnosed with an acute case of leukemia. Cancer was found to be metastatic. The doctors had to send Dima to Moscow clinic.
“You said I was going home, didn't you? And now you're telling me I need to go to Moscow?” said the boy, his voice was trembling from anger and his eyes were shining wet with tears.
“Don't you worry about anything, Dima. This is a great opportunity you are given. Just imagine you will be invited to the Kremlin for tea and blini, you know, Mr. Putin will be delighted to see you!” said the doctor in a local hospital and patted the boy on the shoulder.
The boy became obsessed by the idea of having a blini party with the president. He decided that he would definitely go to the Kremlin once his course of chemotherapy was over. He had no doubts that the president was expecting him. The doctor told him so.
Somebody advised him to write a letter to the president. Dima sat down and wrote the following:
“Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, the doctor told me that you would be glad to share some tea and blini with me at your place. I'm really looking forward to visiting your place! My treatment holds me back. I have a course of chemo and radiotherapy to do. May be you could visit me at the hospital? I will be very glad to see you here.” His mom dropped the letter. Nobody but Dima believed in the continuation of the story,
About a month later Dima received a remote-control toy car and a postcard signed by the Russian President Vladimir Putin. The postcard said: “See you later.”
Just a handful of people were informed about the president's visit to hospital. President Putin did not to make any fuss over his visit. He said his visit was purely private. He did not want to hold any official meetings. And he did not. His entourage was reduced to a minimum. There was no press at all.
Dima is a “godchild” of our newspaper's section Good Deeds Department. The section is continuously putting people like Dima Rogachev into the spotlight. The section raised funds to pay the cost of Dima's testing procedures. That is why the authorities made an exception for Komsomolskaya Pravda.
By the bye, President Putin did not forget about blini. A large heap of hot pancakes arrived in a special case. They were put onto a big plate sitting on an improvised dinner table. Also on the table were some candies, condensed milk, and honey. It looked like a nice blini party Dima was dreaming of.
There were six people drinking tea and eating blini. Those people were the president, the boy and his mom, and three doctors in charge of Dima's treatment. Dima gave Mr. Putin a photograph as a present. Mr. Putin gave him a digital camera. The camera looked small but cool.
The president put a few blini into Dima’s plate and began talking with his mother and doctors. They talked that Dima had been admitted to the Russian Children's Clinical Hospital by a stroke of luck. The vacancy popped up at the time. Thousands of children are not so lucky, they have to die every day. But the hospital is filled to capacity. Doctors have to send back even those who have good chances for recovery.
Speaking with the president over tea and blini, the doctors told him that the hospital was a unique medical institution staffed with highly-qualified specialists. State-of-the-art methods are used for treating malignancies. But only 50% of children fully recover from cancer in Russia as opposed to 80% of similar patients in the U.S. The doctors repeatedly told the president about a severe shortage of hospitals for treating children diagnosed with cancer. The situation would dramatically change for the better if the government finally allocates land for the construction of Clinical Research Center for Children's Hematology Studies. The government has been looking for the right piece of land for a long while now. President Putin took a bundle of paperwork related to the above facility and promised to peruse it.
Aside from the photograph, Dima also gave a drawing to President Putin. The boy spent a few hours of his night rest drawing a hospital of the future. The hospital would have a palace with a park and lots of playgrounds. Everybody who saw the drawing does hope that one day the boy’s dream would become a reality. It is a commonplace that real estate and land prices in Moscow skyrocketed in the last few years. Making the dream into a reality seems mission impossible.
On the other hand, at the beginning nobody believed in a follow-up to the letter sent by the boy to the Russian president.