Big Heart in Dubrovnik: How a Modest Boy Reminded Us What Love Is About

By 14 February 2016

A small boy with a large heart with a love story to celebrate St. Valentine's Day on February 14, 2016.

Barely anyone can still remember the winter festival that was held in Dubrovnik. Well, just recently it was officially closed. A lot of fuss was raised, many politicians and organizations quarrelled whether or not the Christmas spirit was inevitably lost, but financially, the festival was a huge hit and it's to be expected that a very similar program will be incorporated next winter as well. During those holiday times, there were a lot of shiny installations all around Dubrovnik, but one of them found its way to visitors hearts the quickest – Teddy the Franko, a huge yellow illuminated teddy bear. Very soon, a political party DUSTRA made a Facebook contest inviting people to send them their photos and the person with most likes will receive a gift of 500 kunas (roughly €70). A little hero rose up from bunch of photos – Nevio. This is his photo, and the caption was: if you give me a like and I receive the prize, I’ll share it with my kindergarten friends.

Last year, there was a call for money donations in the local media. Nevio has a very rare diagnosis of dwarfism, in fact, he’s the only person in Croatia and one of the 50 people in the world, and he was in need for a special outdoor device for climbing, adjusted to him so he could play on his own, just like the other children. The price was not small either – over 30.000 kunas! Dubrovnik showed what a big heart its locals have – in only one hour almost the entire sum was collected. When his photo appeared on the Facebook page “Medo Franko”, it was obvious he’d take the trophy because very soon he gathered over 2400 likes. He won the first place fair and square and on Christmas Eve he was presented with his prize.

The story did not stop there, Nevio held his promise and got the kindergarten group all the necessities for their everyday activities: paper towels, crayons, water colours, etc. This small boy with a big heart and a diagnosis that does not predict he’ll live longer than 10 years can teach us many things. One of them: it’s not about us, it’s almost never about us, it’s what we can do for each other and the time we choose to spend with our closest ones. We might argue that Valentine’s is an imaginary holiday created to fill the pockets of florists and chocolate factories, but the world, more than ever, needs a day that says: stop all your activities and love each other! For once, don’t focus on what you’ll receive; rather think what you can do for another person! It does not have to be anything cheesy or romantically involved – love is omnipresent. Happy Valentine’s!

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