- Created on Wednesday, 05 May 2010 09:16
A family of immigrants from St. Petersburg, Russia, asks for your support.
Details on how you can contribute to the family are included at the conclusion of the below materials provided by those involved in raising funds for the Lotsmanov family.
The boy in the picture is named Phillipe Lotsmanov and he is three years old. He and his parents, Leonid and Irena ( 38 years old ), won the Green Card Lottery and migrated to the United States on Friday, April 30, 2010, from St. Petersburg, Russia. They were supposed to arrive more than a week earlier but the Volcano in Iceland had them trapped mid-journey in Europe and the had to spend much of their savings on living expenses and new tickets. When they finally arrived in the US, Phillippe's mother was feeling weak and tired. Leonid was an emergency room Cardiologist in Russia and he just thought his wife was tired from their journey and prescribed rest. The next morning, Irena was feeling worse and they took her to WakeMed. Apparently, she had a severe blood clot and by noon on May 1, 2010, Irena was dead -- leaving behind Philllippe and Leonid in a strange new world. Of course Leonid is still in shock. Right now he alternates between crying and denial, this morning he mentioned that Irena forgot to buy butter. Philippe still doesn't know that his mother won't be coming home and he doesn't understand why he cannot talk to her on the phone -- Leonid is in no shape to tell him what's happened. They are staying at the moment with kind people in Apex -- not friends but just friends of friends who had offered to be the family's first contact when they arrived in the US and give them a place to stay for a few days while they were going to be looking for their first apartment. Of course nobody thought it could turn out this way and this kind family in Apex can't keep Phillippe and Leonid indefinitely. Leonid has decided to stay in the US and try to make a life for himself and Phillipe -- he thinks that Irena would have wanted this for them. But they have no money with which to bury Irena; they need at least $6,000 to bury her in the US and about $15,000 to send her home to her parents in Russia. The family is deciding what is best for them but either way they need our help: Does any one know a funeral director who might be convinced to lower their fee in this case. The body is in WakeMed and will have to be moved today at some point. and Cash, Cash, Cash. Anything you can do to help. $500, $100, $50, $25, $5 anything. It would be great to be able to help them pay for the funeral.
If you can help in any way, please respond to me right away and I'll get details to you as soon as I can. This is all so sudden that we are still trying to figure out to whom checks can be made and where thy should be sent.
Thank you so much for your help. There is a Russian expression that says "when tragedy strikes, knock on every door because maybe somebody will open and help." If you know someone else who might open their door, please pass this along to them.
With all my heart
Leonid and Irina were planning their move to the US for months. Leonid is a close friend and co-worker of my brother, who still lives in St.Petersburg in Russia. When they found out that they won Green Card Lottery they asked my brother to put them in touch with me and asked if we would be able to help them with transition. Of course, we agreed. They heard some very nice things about Triangle area from my brother who visited me here several times. They thought it would be the perfect place for them to live and work and raise their son. Leonid and Irena, both hard-working professionals, were getting ready to move and saved money to last for the first few month in the United States. They got their immigrant visas in the fall of 2009 and planned to fly to the US on April 16, 2010. During last few months my husband and I got to know Irena and Leonid pretty well. We exchanged regular e-mails, talked on the phone and by Skype. There were a lot of things to discuss and lots of plans to make.
The volcano eruption delayed their trip for ten days. Fortunately, they were not stuck somewhere in Europe, but were unable to leave St.Petersburg in the first place. They waited at home. They lost their tickets for the flight from New-York to Raleigh (Jet Blue airline did not want to take responsibility for volcano eruption) and we had to buy them new tickets at the last moment when they finally boarded their trance-Atlantic flight.
They arrived in Raleigh on Monday, April 26th, tired but happy. They stayed with us in our house for the first few days while the apartment being rented and the furniture was moved in and everything was put in place. Konstantin contacted Jewish Family Services a few months before Irina's and Leonid's arrival and they coordinated very generous donations of furniture and household goods and helped with moving the stuff, so the apartment looked quite livable before they moved in. Thursday, April 29th was the first night Irina, Leonid and Philipp spent in their new apartment.
I called to check in on them after work on Friday afternoon. Irina said she was feeling tired and when they went for a walk, she was short of breath. Leonid listened to her lungs and heart sound and thought she might be developing a pneumonia. He couldn't make better diagnosis due to a lack of equipment. We agreed, that if she is not feeling better by Saturday morning, I'll drive her to the hospital to take some x-rays and see what's going on.
My husband and I came to their apartment around 9:00 AM on Saturday morning. She just finished breakfast and was ready to go to the hospital. From this point things started deteriorate very quickly. Irina picked up her purse and we started walking to the car that was parked a few yards away. After taking a few steps, she suddenly collapsed, conscious, but very weak, unable to take another step. Leonid and my husband carried her to my car and I drove to the nearest Emergency Room as quickly as possible. Konstantin and Leonid dressed Philipp and followed us a few minutes later. At the Emergency Room she was taken in right away, her breathing quick and shallow, her lips turning blue. She was still conscious, talked to the nurses, answered their questions, complained about chest pains. Leonid came in soon. A few minutes later, as the doctor came and started asking more questions, Irina stopped breathing, than her heart stopped. Emergency room personal continued their efforts to revive her for quite some time, but were unable to save her. She passed away.
Leonid is devastated. For the last three days he slept very little and ate almost nothing. I have to beg him to eat even a little bit of food. I try to help him to take care of Philipp and have them to spent as much time as possible with us. Leonid only smiles now when he looks at his son, who is an adorable and delightful child. Leonid determined to make live for himself and his son here just like Irina would have wanted.
All my friends doing everything they could to help Leonid in this impossibly difficult situation. People from Jewish Family Services, who helped furnish an apartment for Leonid and Irina, are also organizing help for them.
Irina was smart, educated and energetic young woman, she and Leonid planned for everything, except for this unimaginable tragedy. She will be buried on Friday, May 7th, at 3:00 PM at the Raleigh Hebrew Cemetery with a small service at the graveside.
The Jewish Federation of Raleigh-Cary has agreed to be a conduit to accept and administer donations. Please see the information below on how to contribute. We are grateful that the Federation has agreed to do this so we can all be assured that our donations are going where intended and everyone can get an appropriate tax deduction. This is such a sad story but hopefully through our help, we can give little Phillipe a real chance to make it in his new country.
Thank you all so very much for your responses, thoughts and prayers.
Newly settled Russian family needs immediate emergency help
The Jewish Family Services (JFS) division of the Jewish Federation of Raleigh-Cary recently assisted Leonid and Irina Lotsmanov and their three year old son, Phillipe, in resettling to the Raleigh-Cary area from St. Petersburg, Russia. With a wonderful outpouring of community generosity, their apartment was completely furnished and set up. Tragically, on May 1, only days after their arrival, Irina Lotsmanov died suddenly of a severe blood clot leaving Leonid with the daunting tasks of a single parent and many additional and unanticipated expenses.
Jewish Family Services has agreed to accept monetary donations designated for the family's assistance. JFS will work with Leonid and with his sponsors, the Glukh family, to apply funds received to the most pressing needs, including those related to funeral expenses and ongoing living expenses. Among these needs is the imperative that Philipp has the opportunity for education and socialization.
Jewish Family Services
8210 Creedmoor Road, Suite 104
Raleigh, NC 27613.
Checks should be made payable to Jewish Federation of Raleigh-Cary with "Lotsmanov family" written on the memo line. Donations are tax deductible.