DELAWARE COUNTY, Pa. - An incredible story of resilience, as a Ukrainian soldier, who lost his legs in the war, is now learning to wall again, here, in Delaware County.
Determined is an understatement when describing 23-year-old Ukrainian soldier and, now, double amputee Roman Stashkiv.
"Just the couple of days he's been here in the hospital, he’s walking with walker now, but his gait almost looks natural," says Sean Bonner, the man responsible for bringing Roman to the U.S.
Roman lost both of his legs in April while fighting to protect the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine during the Russian invasion. Seven months later, he’s in Delaware County at Crozer Health’s Taylor Hospital receiving rehabilitative care.
"Roman, being a young man with his whole life ahead of him, I knew there was something I had to do to help," says Bonner, of Haverford, Pa.
Bonner is a Founder and CEO of The Guild Foundation, an organization that increases financial literacy among service men and women and supports military organizations around the world. The Delaware County native learned of Roman’s injuries while he was in Ukraine on a humanitarian mission. Ironically, Sean’s family works in rehabilitative medicine.
"Fate sort of chose us for this, chose me for this," says Bonner.
Quickly, Sean made some calls and people, companies, and donors in the Philadelphia region stepped up.
Jack Lawall, of Lawall Prosthetics & and Orthotics, donated the $30,000 prosthesis to Roman.
Crozer Health is covering the entire cost of Roman’s care.
Bonner explains, "The treatment and care that our U.S. vets get here is best in the world and if we have the opportunity to help another young man from a foreign country who is fighting for his own people, his own way of life and fighting to be free, we at least had to try."
And in his first few days at Taylor, Roman is making great strides towards regaining his independence.
Roman and a translator say, "From the first days, he’s feeling more confident every day - confident more and more and more. He’s really thankful to all the people who helped.
Roman’s motivation: to get home and continue the fight for freedom, which he hopes to do in about two months or so.
While Roman is receiving outpatient care, The Guild Foundation will be covering his living expenses.
If you’d like to support "Operation Roman", click here.