Position: Telephone Operator, Fire Department
Experience: 13 years
The Dance of Life
Any woman would probably envy being immersed in and dancing to beautiful music, while wearing the most exquisite dress. But beneath all the smiles and joy, a latent pain may lurk and every now and again it may come to the surface.
This was not always the case in Yuliya's life. It is hard to believe that behind a dazzling smile, lies a tragedy that she could not have overcome without the undying support of her family and friends. Yuliya had to learn how to live all over again. How did she do this? She recalls with deep emotion:
“Today, looking at my fourteen-year-old daughter Kristina, I remember myself at her age. I was a naive romantic dreaming of a prince charming coming along and a military career. All of these dreams came true but there were a few bumps on the road.”
Her first marriage was a complete failure. She was left with disappointment and unfulfilled expectations, a small child and she found herself in a state of constant dizziness. Doing her utmost, Yuliya dove into work (guarding production sites at SSGPO). One day, while driving her own car, she felt poorly. What followed was a car accident and a diagnosis of displacement of the fourth and fifth vertebrae. Months of therapy did not yield the desired results. Yuliya could not walk as well as she had before. The doctors said: “What did you expect? You have multiple sclerosis. This cannot be healed.”
The "sentence" left Yuliya with a wave of despair. Her small daughter gave her strength and while her "little ray of sunshine" was fast asleep in her crib, she could not comprehend how much she meant to her mother.
“I made the irrevocable decision to carry on with my life as best I could. My mother's enormous and resolute support helped me along. We started fighting the disability together. We got hold of a new trial drug after reaching out to the Novosibirsk Scientific Centre. Undeterred by the experimental nature of the drug, we took the risk. Playing so-called "Russian roulette" paid off: the disease receded, but I remained bound in a wheelchair.”
“In that difficult moment in my life, I suddenly found “my person”. Roman embraced the difficulties and assisted with most physical tasks. I jokingly call him my "Indian elephant” since he has to take on all the physical chores. Coming out of our building and descending from the third floor, where we live, became a real challenge – you first need to carry the wheelchair and then me. There were many difficulties, but this did not stop us from living a fulfilling life. We not only started a new family life together, but also both started doing sports. He became my partner in everything, including wheelchair dancing, my new hobby. “From 2014, we began to master the first moves in this Paralympic sport, experiencing new emotions, learning and growing. At competitions, Roman is my partner, hair stylist and even makeup artist: he glues on my eyelashes, and he has recently mastered winged eyeliner which, alas, I cannot do on my own any more as my hands are shaky. I am certain that it was dancing that brought our relationship to a new level.”
At the moment, Yuliya is a merited master of sports in wheelchair dancing. She is ready to teach people who are confined to a wheelchair, but there is no one in Rudny who wants to learn, which is very upsetting.
“Fear often holds people back”, Yuliya says. “My personal example is proof of that. What was a hobby turned into a lifestyle: constant trips, new acquaintances, communication and recognition allow you to feel confident. Today, I’m not ashamed of my disability, and I realise that if I hadn’t had my own medical predicament, I would not have enjoyed what I have now.
Working for a mining giant gives me an additional opportunity for self-fulfilment.”
Since childhood, Yuliya dreamed of wearing a military uniform and this came true. At the Fire Department at SSGPO, she works as an operator, receiving calls during emergencies in the city and the industrial zone. She is the first to report an incident to the quick response team. Great responsibility requires you to constantly keep an eye out for incidents and stay sharp. Constant physical activity keeps the body in shape and generates new emotions.
“People often ask me how I manage to be on top of everything. I answer: if not me, then who? When life is a whirlwind and with the presence of family, work and sport, there’s no time for negative thoughts. Not so long ago, we returned from Kyzylorda, where we came first in "combi-freestyle". We are currently preparing for the National Championship where we’re hoping to do just as well, which will allow us to represent our country at the international level. That's my extraordinary dance of life!”