Shortly after a move from Ukraine to Charlotte, this 7-year-old is facing the toughest fight of his life. Grygorri Bakhmach moved from Ukraine to Charlotte with his parents and 2-year-old sister. The Bakhmach family did not see a future in Ukraine and packed up their children to come to the United States.

Their Story

They loved their family and friends there, but they longed for the freedoms and opportunities America would offer their children. They entered the Diversity Visa lottery in 2018 and won. In 2020, they made their final decision to move to the U.S. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bakhmach family settled in Charlotte. Soon after, their son, Grygorii, began complaining about pain in his chest. His pediatrician found a lump and sent them straight to the emergency room for scans. On Jan. 25, 2021, Grygorii was diagnosed with stage 3 Burkitt Lymphoma. He immediately began a treatment plan that included four cycles of chemotherapy. Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital became his home while he fought childhood cancer.

Soon after, Grygorii began receiving care from the team at Hemby Children’s Hospital. “We immediately had confidence in the care he was receiving. His doctors were always ahead of the game,” Nataliia said. In addition to excellent medical treatment, the family was blown away by the personal care they received at the hospital during their most trying time. Grygorii barely spoke English. Still, the team members found ways to connect with him.

Grygorii then had to go through one of his toughest days of treatment when he went in for a spinal procedure and began to feel afraid. His doctor brought him a “magic light” to help comfort him during this time. It projected snowflakes to help resemble a nice Winter day in Ukraine to make him feel more at home.

Grygorii’s treatments went well. He returned to school, and his hair grew back. Grygorii fell in love with drawing while in the hospital and has fully embraced his artistic talents. “After this experience it’s easy to distinguish what is important. Money and careers are not important. But the ability to hug my child and see him healthy …. It’s such a blessing.”


You can donate to help children like Grygorii and their families during our annual Secret Santa radiothon this year. Get involved and donate either online or by calling 1-866-676-7331. Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital offers patients remarkable medical care while offering parents peace of mind.

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