Born to Care: 11-year-old Nadia Kostyniuk’s Story of Giving

May 1, 2017

Nadia and AbbyNadia Kostyniuk was about to turn four years old.

“Mamma,” she said to her mother Sandy, “I want to help other kids in the Ukraine for my birthday.” 

Nadia received contributions from family and friends, creating special ‘care boxes’ to send overseas.

“Our family sponsors children in the Ukraine,” explains Sandy. “Charity is very important for my husband and I. Giving and volunteering represent values close to our hearts that we’ve shared with our children.”

For the last seven years, Nadia has continued her tradition of giving to charity to celebrate her own special day. She receives presents from family, but asks that friends support her annual charity of choice.

“It does leave a good feeling and makes you feel better to know that you are helping someone in need,” says Nadia.

As Nadia’s 11th birthday approached in March, she thought about her best friend Abby, who lives with juvenile arthritis.

The girls met when they started Ukrainian dancing at age four, and have been best friends ever since.

“Abby already had arthritis when we met,” says Nadia, “but I didn’t know about it right away.”

 “In all the time we’ve been dancing, Abby has only missed one or two practices because of her disease. She’s so strong. She plays volleyball too.”

Unaware that March is Childhood Arthritis Month, Nadia donated a total of $110. 

She wrote, “I am donating $90 that I collected from my friends at Saint John Brebuef School. I hope the money goes to good use and helps lots of people...P.S. My family donated an extra $20.”

Nadia’s heartfelt donation will be used to support local programs for kids and families affected by childhood arthritis, like Family Day. 

Nadia attends the same school as Walk to Fight Arthritis Hero, Matthew Stipanovic. He is in grade 7 while Nadia is in grade 5.

Nadia wants other kids to know they can make a difference too. “I definitely encourage them and if they did the same thing as me, I would support them.”

“So many people have less than we do,” acknowledges Nadia’s mother Sandy. “A birthday means life. For our family, that is the perfect reason to give.”

“We are truly grateful for Nadia’s thoughtful generosity and wish her many more happy birthdays,” says Donna Wills, Regional Manager for Manitoba/Nunavut. 

“Nadia’s story is an inspiring example of giving and sharing we can celebrate at any age.”

Do you have a birthday, marriage, anniversary, or other milestone coming up? You can make a difference for Manitobans living with arthritis! 

Visit our website for ideas, or contact Donna Wills by email at or call 204.942.4892, toll-free 1.800.321.1433.