She’s a role model for many people living with disabilities and will no doubt inspire millions when she performs “Flame Is Burning” at the Eurovision Song Contest 2017.
And on Monday — several weeks before she jets off to Kyiv — Russia’s Julia Samoilova flew to Finland to undergo medical treatment and rehabilitation at a Finnish clinic.
Finnish state broadcaster YLE confirmed the reports, first released in Russian newspapers, with Julia’s assistant earlier this week.
“They have the best statistics for successful surgery,” Julia told Russia’s Gazeta.ru. “They do not exceed the risk threshold. I pondered the matter for a long time. I was talking about similar things with a lot of experienced people, and chose the Finnish clinic.”
According to Fontanka, Julia has also praised Finnish doctors who approach patients with great care and skill, and have a greater understanding of her particular needs when compared to doctors in Russia.
Reports have not confirmed the precise treatment Julia will undergo, only that she has elected to undergo the treatment abroad.
Julia, 27, lives with spinal muscular atrophy, also known as SMA, a condition that the causes muscles to waste away leading to immobility.
During her time in Finland, Julia planned to listen to the other competing entries in this year’s contest. Let’s hope we see her top list soon!
Many international media outlets have picked on Julia’s story after she was revealed to be Russia’s representative at this year’s contest. But controversy ensued when Ukrainian security officials said that they were investigating Julia after learning she had performed in Crimea in 2015. Under Ukrainian law, that could result in her being banned from entering the country.
Until Ukraine’s authorities issue a statement, we are assuming that Julia will be at Eurovision.
Russia will compete in the second semi-final. The odds are volatile and shifting every few hours, but at the time of writing Russia is ninth in the betting odds to win the contest. That marks a significant fall from fifth position — which they held prior to the announcement Julia would sing at Eurovision.
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