Nation raises over 500,000zl to help retired teacher’s son after she revealed she can't afford McDonalds burger
A retired school teacher from Warsaw has touched the hearts of the nation and been left stunned after an appeal saw over PLN 500,000 raised to aid the rehabilitation of her ill son.
The story began innocuously enough when the Goniec portal stopped members of the public and asked them how much they would be willing to pay for the popular Drwal Burger from McDonald’s.
Billed as “the burger that makes winter more delicious”, the ‘lumberjack burger’ has proved a seasonal sensation with Poles despite being priced at a steep PLN 27.90.
Asked her thoughts during a video vox pop, 83-year-old Pani Henia said that the burger was delicious but admitted she would not be able to afford one on her monthly pension of PLN 2,200.
Continuing, the woman said that she struggled to make ends meet due to having to support her seriously ill son.
Moved by the video, pop princess Doda sprang into action and used her social media accounts to publicise the plight of Pani Henia.
“This grandmother said she didn’t want any money,” said Doda. “She only talked of her son, and mentioned that she really wanted to order a box diet for him as he can only eat gluten-free products.
“She mentioned all she wanted was his rehabilitation as well as basics such as toilet paper, tissues, washing products…”
Despite struggling with a heart condition of her own, Pani Henia revealed that she had to take on work as a cleaning lady following the death of her husband to bolster the family’s meagre finances.
However, following Doda’s intervention the story has now gone viral with an online collection raising over PLN 500,000 in a matter of days.
Found on the UratujeCie web page, the appeal revealed the extent of care needed by Henia’s son.
“Jarosław is fifty-nine years old,” reads the entry. “His health has been rapidly deteriorating for several years. Currently, he is unable to live independently and requires help from third parties. He struggles with an unspecified neurological disease that takes away his strength.”
It added that prior to being struck by the illness, the man led a stable life and ran his own business.
“So far, doctors have thrown their hands up in the air,” the post continued. “It is hoped that genetic tests might finally determine what he is dealing with and what treatment methods are best. The tests and expert opinion will cost approximately PLN 20,000.”
That figure has been comfortably smashed and donations have continued to pour in.
McDonald’s have also confirmed that their representatives have since contacted Pani Henia to organise a future visit, whilst the Sosnowiec politician Łukasz Litewka has said that he and his friends will pay for a year’s subscription to a box diet for Jarosław.
Visibly moved, a follow-up video by Goniec shows Pani Henia tearfully thanking all those that have reached out to help. “My God,” she said, “but how can I sincerely thank all of these people.”
For her part, Doda has remained modest. “When I watched this video, something inside me stirred,” said the iconic singer.
“I have a weakness for the elderly and feel they should be allowed to have dignity in their old age in Poland, especially when they have problems such as this grandmother.”