"Thanks to the MTWTU and the ITF Seafarers' Trust, I can live and will soon return to my much-loved profession"

Sometimes seafarers have to deal not only with the natural elements but also with hardships on shore. Constant challenges at sea build up seafarers' resilience and perseverance. However, sometimes life brings unwelcome surprises. Andriy, a seafarer, Cook from V.Ships company, knows firsthand how to struggle against the disease. Read more about his path from diagnosis to rehabilitation.

- Why did you choose the seafaring profession?

- My father told me: "Son, do not think of working at sea, do not go on voyages. You will have no family and no life." But did I listen to his words? I went to sea. And today, I have given it 41 years of my life. And you know, I am happy. I have been everywhere! Except for Greenland. For this long time, and through many places and things to see, I have come to the only conclusion: life is the same everywhere. There are different conditions and mentalities, but life is the same, and we should appreciate it.

- Would you like the younger generation of your family to devote their lives to the sea?

- People often ask me about working at sea, but I never advise anyone. I tell them the whole thing and let them make the decision on their own. For me personally, working at sea is like a pendulum: one fluctuation separates "good" from "bad". But at the same time, this job leaves a kind of imprint on seafarers, on everyone. It is like a tattoo. When you get a tattoo, you are looking for meaning in it. So did my profession - left a mark on my heart and filled my life with sense.

- How did you find out about the disease?

- I was preparing for a new voyage. While passing a medical examination, at the ultrasound, the doctors told me there was a suspicion of a tumor in my stomach. I did some examinations, then others, and it confirmed: I had a tumor in my stomach, quite a large one. Luckily, it was not malignant, but still not treated in Odesa.

- How did the surgery go?

- I found a really good clinic near Kyiv. That's where my treatment started. The surgery went well, without any force majeure. And thank God, I am now in rehabilitation.

- Who assisted you financially?

- I have been with no work for ten months. Treatment is very expensive, but I am grateful to the Marine Transport Workers' Trade Union of Ukraine and the ITF Seafarers' Trust for helping all their seafarers. Without them, I would not be here now, not to mention feeling so good. I am now walking 10-12 kilometers, as recommended by my doctor. I live my full life. Thank you very much for reacting and supporting me constantly. And thank you for granting me the opportunity not to give up my work at sea.

- What are your plans for the future?

- This month, after the final examinations, I will know exactly when to return to work. So far, the doctor has signed a permit for 3 month voyages. But at the medical commission, they did not allow me to go anywhere. Even though I felt great already a week after the surgery. Thanks to the MTWTU and ITF Seafarers' Trust, I can live and will soon return to my much-loved profession.

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