Covid drastically changed Milena Riegel’s life overnight. The 17-year-old had been a sporty, adventurous girl who loved spending her free time with friends and her two siblings until she caught the virus in February 2022. Ever since, nothing has been the same for the schoolgirl from Buchbrunn, Germany.
While others experience symptoms for a week or maybe two, Milena has never recovered. Instead, she just feels more and more exhausted, and even short distances like the journey to school have become too much for her. While she just about managed to sit the most important exams for her Realschule high-school diploma by working on an hour-by-hour basis, hobbies and sports have been out of the question.
After what seemed like hundreds of visits to the doctor and hospital stays, Milena was diagnosed with a severe case of long covid, with symptoms including chronic fatigue, severe pain, problems with concentration and speech, hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli, and a compromised immune system. Associated symptoms also include dizziness, fainting, and an abnormally raised heart rate.
Over time, Milena’s condition has only deteriorated, and she is now in need of care. She can no longer walk, is in bed almost around the clock, and even speaking has become a strain. Milena was even unable to spend Christmas at home with her family. Unfortunately, there are still no approved drugs or treatments for her condition. Her only chance of a cure, or at least an improvement, is a type of blood purification – but at 2,500 euros per treatment, this cost is not covered by health insurance. Five to seven treatments could help Milena immeasurably.
Milena’s parents have appealed to the public for help, asking for financial support via a donation platform. The response has been overwhelming. Within just 17 hours, the target donation of 17,500 euros had been reached, with the total rising to almost 35,000 euros over the next few days. The family will use this money to pay for Milena’s medication and transport to northern Germany for the treatment.
Amongst the 700 individual donations of between five and one thousand euros each, the family were also touched to receive numerous get-well wishes and words of encouragement. “It was so lovely to see just how many people are showing their willingness to help so selflessly,” say Julia and Marco Riegel. “We no longer feel so alone in this.”
Mix for Kids is hoping to help Milena with a donation of 1000 euros and wishes her all the best on her road to recovery.