Dragana Rodic – Nis
At the age of 18, more precisely in 1999, I experienced, I can freely say, a tragedy. In a traffic accident, I hurt my spine, then I was sent to Belgrade for a surgery, but unfortunately I ended up in the wheelchair. It was bad and tragic for certain, but I was constantly driven by the enthusiasm and love of life, and now I am here. Despite my situation, I’ve ridden horses, camels, jumped with the parachute and even broke the record as the first person with a disability who jumped with the parachute from that height. This is the beginning of my story and the humanitarian association I founded about 15 years ago. I went to Beijing first and was the first person to have a stem cell transplant. There I met a crew from the BBC who shot a short documentary about it, and then when I returned to Serbia, various Serbian media contacted me and talked to me about how it feels to find enough strength and will to accept the life I have. With the support of people from Serbia and the diaspora, I founded the humanitarian association of people with disabilities “Dragana Rodic” shortly thereafter. As a non-governmental organization, we had various humanitarian activities; we allocated over 200,000 EUR to both individuals and institutions, we hosted MD Kristofer Riva, who patented the differentiation of stem cells in Nis. We launched a unique action called Remove
the Barriers, which won the award as the most popular media campaign. In addition to all this, I also wrote the book The Web of Circumstances, and the other part is expected very soon. There is also a music album on the occasion of the action Remove the Barriers. I want to get a PhD degree in my area, and grow my child to be a man.