In 2019, the Albion defender was made aware of a young Romanian woman, Loredana Jianu, who suffered a spinal injury that was not diagnosed or treated within the correct time-frame.
Sadly, this has left her confined to a wheelchair, paralysed from the neck down, and in need of daily medical therapy to preserve whatever muscle and motion range in her arms that she has left.
Yet despite these serious health issues, Loredana has graduated with a law degree from the University of Craiova – Baluta's home city – and is set to complete her Master’s next month.
While she currently lives in student accommodation, along with her carer mother, she will soon need to find another place to live in the city, to continue to benefit from the therapies that are vital to keep her functioning. Sadly, her family do not have the funds in place for this to happen so Tudor is helping to share her story in a bid to raise some much-needed funds.
“When my mum told me about Loredana’s story, I was inspired by her,” Tudor told us. “Her university is just five minutes from my apartment in Craiova, so we met up and it was the beginning of a long-term friendship.
“I was immediately taken by her courage and desire to succeed in life, despite such a serious disability – and she is such a nice and warm person too.
“I’ve always wanted to give something back to my community and so my mum and I decided to help Loredana as a result. We help with food, medicine and regular visits – just making sure we are there for her.
“To become a successful student of law is an amazing achievement and she’s managed all this by living in a very small room close to the university, along with her mother, who provides 24-hour care.
“She has done so, so well to get to this point, but when I found out she could soon become homeless, it’s made me determined to help her even more. Her family simply do not have the money to keep her in Craiova, which is heartbreaking because she deserves to fulfil her dreams and ambitions, giving all she has gone through and will continue to go through.”
Tudor has featured on national TV in Romania to make people aware of Loredana’s plight and an online donation page has been set up to raise funds. A justgiving page has also been launched in English and he hopes fans here can help in some small way.
“What has struck me since I’ve been in Brighton is the community spirit that exists in the city and also at the football club,” he added. “It’s really heart-warming to see that, with everyone pulling together, so if people can make a small donation to help Loredana’s cause, that would be wonderful. She simply can’t end up homeless and I’ll do as much as I can to keep her in safe accommodation in Craiova, where she can look to the future with real positivity.”
If you would like to donate, please click here.