My name is Katarzyna Southin and this is my story.
Hi! My name is Katarzyna (“Kasha”) Southin. Last year, I had a great opportunity to take part in the design and transformation of The Polish Club in Mission, San Francisco, for the WOSP Grand Finale. This year, for 2019, I am delighted to have been nominated to become the ‘chief’ – which is an honour to accept. This is a very close cause to my heart and personal quest for me.
I have been part of WOSP from early childhood, and I will never forget my first heart-shaped sticker stuck to my coat on a cold January morning in Gdansk. I felt so proud and happy to take part in something I knew deep-down was something right, and it was then when my older sister was holding my hand looked at me proudly, looking at me with the belief that there is hope. I know very well what it means to have a terminally ill child in a family, and I am all too familiar with the pain, difficulties and day-to-day problems, and the costs to such a daily struggle. I know what a split-second opportunity can mean for a little child getting a chance to live thanks to well-equipped hospitals – and that it can often be only the briefest of chances.
I want to tell you a story of my sister, Ewa, who was born with heart disease in the harsh reality of 1970’s cold-war communistic Poland. There was no help for her problem, and doctors were not giving her many chances for survival – but somehow she managed to live longer than anyone anticipated – against all the odds. Because of her heart condition progressing, the rest of her body started to shut down causing complications as her lungs and liver started to weaken. When she was born there was no equipment available to test, treat and sustain her, or to take the pain away. With proper access to today’s hospitals, equipment and doctors, she would have enjoyed a long and happy life; her heart would be fixed straight after birth in a now-routine operation, and she would be writing this message instead of me. As you can see she is my motivation, my driving force, and this is why I believe in WOSP, and because I don’t want other families, mothers, fathers, sisters or brothers to loose the young ones because of underfunded and ill-equipped hospitals. I believe in equality of opportunity, especially when it comes to healthcare. It is for you Ewa – I will never forget.