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LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — A Ukrainian teenager is in need of a new host family as he continues getting much-needed medical assistance in Kansas City.

Vova Ahapov, 13, and his mother came to the United States in April after obtaining a medical visa.

The teen’s life drastically changed five years ago while walking to English class. As he was crossing the street, a car sped through a stoplight that was turning from yellow to red. The car hit Vova, who miraculously survived.

He was put in a medically induced coma. Doctors didn’t think he’d survive but he did. However, he now has trouble talking and is confined to a wheelchair. Vova also developed ‘dystonia,’ a movement disorder that causes the muscles to contract involuntarily.

“We’ve been grateful to have them as part of the family. It’s been a great experience for our children,” said his current host mother, Luda Trykosh.

She lives in Lee’s Summit with her husband and five children. Originally from Ukraine, Luda moved to the United States about 20 years ago. She heard about Vova’s situation through a mutual friend and offered to let him and his mother, Liudmyla Ahapov, stay with her family in Lee’s Summit.

Vova and his mother speak little English, so Luda helps translate for them. Since April, she’s helped set up and coordinate his intense rehab appointments at AbilityKC. Since she works in healthcare, she was able to connect Vova with the right doctors and specialists who can help him with his precise needs.

“He works really hard at getting better and all his therapists have been impressed with his work ethic,” she said.

In the nearly eight months he’s been in Missouri, Vova’s made tremendous progress. He spends two, six-hour days at AbilityKC re-learning how to walk. His mother works with him at home the other five days going through the same exercises.

Not only that, he underwent deep brain stimulation surgery in late September. Luda, a nurse anesthetist, was with him during the 9-hour procedure. She said the surgery drastically helped him have more control over his body.

Before the surgery, when asked to touch his nose, his body violently tremored. Now, he’s able to do the same command but with significantly less tremor.

Vova’s also able to stand and even walk a short distance using a walker. His biological mother, Luidmyla, also doesn’t have to use as much strength when helping him get in the shower or change his clothes. He’s set to have a second operation in late December which will improve his condition even more.

However, Vova’s host mother is now facing a health crisis in her own family: ovarian cancer. Luda’s mom, who’s still in Ukraine, needs an expensive treatment for the rest of her life, which she can’t afford on her own.

Luda is sending money to cover that big expense, which means she can’t care for Vova the way she did before.

“They basically just need a family to take them in who can provide groceries and transportation assistance [from January to June],” Luda said.

Vova’s mother can only afford his medical premiums, so they need help paying for food. The host family would also have to be able to take Vova to his rehab appointments twice a week and provide them with housing.

A willing family doesn’t have to speak Ukranian; Liudmyla can understand some English and utilizes apps to help translate.

“I’m praying and hoping that someone can help this boy just like we have.”

If you’re interested in Vova and Liudmyla’s new host family, contact Luda Trykosh via Facebook. She asks that you send her a direct message.

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