Patient experience

A little bit of freedom

Donations allow a Russian boy to receive a neurological rehab in the HELIOS Clinic Geesthacht

Bright-eyed Khariton drives his active-wheelchair across the clinic hallway towards the canteen. He spins around, throws his arms into the air and uses a few bits of German to a passing therapist „Hallo! Ja, gut!“ (“Hello! Yes, well!”). Adoptive father Dimitri stops in the middle of the hallway smiling, observes the scene and finally laughs out loud with joy.

It is still very new to him that his son drives ahead in a wheelchair and he has to be quick to catch up. 

The 6-year old suffers from Spina Bifida, a congenital malformation of the spinal cord: therefore Khariton is paralysed from the knees down, so that he can’t walk. In the first years of his life Khariton lived in a children’s home until Larissa und Dimitri, a couple from Moscow adopted him. 

Kharitons fate is reported in the early summer in the first programme of Russian television with a call by a foundation to donate for the extensive treatment of Khariton. As specialised clinics for paediatric neurological rehabilitation are rare in Russia, the foundation looked for a fitting institution in Germany and finally became aware of the HELIOS Clinic Geesthacht – one of the very few specialised clinics for neurological rehabilitation of children, adolescents and young adults with congenital or acquired nerve lesions throughout the nation. 

See picture: Khariton at ergo therapy. Improving his grasp: What Khariton has not yet learnt properly as a  former home child, is now being caught up with ergo therapist Johanna Isermann.

The resonance of the TV-donation call was overwhelming: quickly the money for Kharitons stay in Geesthacht was collected. Just a few weeks later he could start his rehab in Geesthacht. Goal of the ten week therapy was to improve Kharitons mobility as well as strengthen and improve his motor skills to allow him more mobility in his everyday life. 

A part from regular ergo therapy Khariton received aids: a new active-wheelchair allowed him to be mobile of his own accord for the first time without someone having to push him. Additionally special carbon orthesis were adapted for Khariton with which he exercises in the Post Walker (training aid for walking). 

“Every aid that he gets means a little more freedom for Khariton”, says his adoptive mother Larissa during the stay in Geesthacht. Also Khariton had become far more self-confident, less anxious; especially dealing with the therapist has done him the world of good. “I notice that he has made a lot of progress in, so Larissa. 2015 Khariton should come to Geesthacht again for a further therapy. 

See picture: Khariton in his wheelchair. Very proud: Khariton on his first day in the new active-wheelchair and the new orthoses.  

My Experience in the HELIOS ENDO-Privatklinik Hamburg

Mr. Andrey Feofanov travelled from Russia to Hamburg, Germany for medical treatment. Upon arrival he suffers severe pain in his hip but the team of Prof. Dr. Gehrke in the HELIOS ENDO-Privatklinik Hamburg is taking care of him.

“My severe pain when I moved or strained my hip greatly impaired my daily life and in Russia the treatment consisted only of strong pain medication. There was no physiotherapy. I could hardly move. I had already heard of the good quality of the German clinics, especially that patients get well there much faster. In Russia one calculated 6 months of not being able to move normally after such a hip replacement, here I was on my feet only a few days after my operation and after a few weeks I could already walk again. I was also considering a treatment in Israel. The prices are similar, but only in Germany there are these specialised Rehabilitation centres. During my research on the internet I then came across the HELIOS ENDO-Privatklinik. The good reputation of the entire location and especially the excellent ratings of former Russian patients convinced me.

My concrete expectations for the treatment in the HELIOS ENDO-Privatklinik were that I can walk without pain again. And even though the operation is not even two weeks ago my situation has very clearly improved. I am highly satisfied with the result so far. I was operated by Professor Gehrke, whom I want to thank especially at this point. Next to his fantastic surgical performance he also took time for me despite his many obligations. I felt very well looked after. I would like to specially praise the perfect structure. Everyone involved in the treatments took great care and the services in the Privatklinik were excellent. All my worries were taken care of. The transfer from the Privatklinik on the 8th level to the Rehabilitation centre on the 5th level I would like to emphasise especially. After my move the Rehab-personnel did not only know how far I was with my physiotherapy but also what I like to eat for breakfast.“


  • HELIOS International Office Lutherplatz 40
    47805 Krefeld (Düsseldorf)
    Phone +49 30 68 323 885 Fax +49 21 51 32 1908