Ioana Margineanu and a group of her fellow PhD candidates in Groningen are coming together to support a friend of Margineanu’s in Romania in need of brain surgery.
Ioana Margineanu, a PhD candidate at UMCG and board member of Groningen PhD organisation, GOPHER (Groningen Organisation for PhD Education and Recreation), has a tightly knit group of friends and fellow PhD candidates in the city. But the medical scholar still kept in close touch with her long-time friends back home in Romania, including Raluca Manoliu, who works as a professor of architectural history.
Margineanu writes that Manoliu recently learned that she would need to undergo brain surgery in Paris to remove a tumour she has had for years. The surgery would have been a risky operation in Romania, so Manoliu was compelled to travel to France for the procedure in November, which means that it will be much costlier and not covered by her insurance.
“Humour is my secret weapon”
When Manoliu understood the costs that would be involved in the surgery, she posted on Facebook “half serious, half joking” that she was considering selling a kidney to cover the expense. Manoliu and Margineanu may have bonded as kids thanks to their apparent shared macabre sense of humour: Raluca has named the tumour Tupic and various fundraising activities are referring to freeing Tupic from Raluca’s head. “It looks like a sort of annoying house elf”, Margineanu writes. “I always transform unpleasantness in something funny”, Manoliu says. “Humour is my secret weapon.”
When Manoliu got the news, “all of her friends rallied around her”, Margineanu writes. Her dance school in Romania raised money for her, the university where she teaches donated to help her pay for the surgery, and other long-time friends have chipped in from Romania and abroad. “I was surprised and amazed, shocked, even, to see so many people, friends and strangers, come to the rescue without my asking them. And it’s not just the money; it’s the kindness of their messages, the sincerity behind their words”, Manoliu writes.
In Groningen, Margineanu and her new friends wanted to find a way to help Manoliu as well. In order to help “free Tupic”, Margineanu is helping others face their fears: she and her social circle are organising a pub quiz about “things that scare us” in October. The timing being around Halloween contributes to the theme, and, as Margineanu puts it, “brain tumours are scary.” The quiz will be held on Wednesday, the 10th of October at 5:30 at café De Bres near the Noorderplantsoen. The goal of the quiz, which will feature film and music questions and prizes, is to help raise money for Manoliu’s surgery.
The procedure and treatment to remove the tumour will be held in November, and Manoliu says that the range of kind gestures directed to helping her have given her a massive morale boost. “The beauty of it all is how strong human relationships are”, she says. “Despite distance, friends and colleagues “conspired” to help and brought along people who, in the past weeks, have become new friends”, Manoliu writes. “I am deeply grateful for the friends I have. I feel blessed for their friendship and the strength they offer.”