Dated: May 11, 2003.
From Martin Bergsma of the Netherlands.
I would like you to know just how important your scale figures have been for me. In 2002 my life took a wrong turn; my liver was failing and I spend months in hospital. During that time my health deteriorated further and further. Needless to say that it was an extremely difficult period. My sister knew I loved the 1/72 scale figures and ordered several boxes and had them send to the hospital. They were an important distraction for me. In November of 2002 the doctors told me that my life would probably end within four weeks unless a suitable liver became available. Because Iím writing this mail you can guess what happened; I got a new liver on November 22 during a nine hour operation. Just before I was transported hastily through the hallways for the operation, I received more boxes, ordered by my sister. While I was waiting they gave me comfort and even when I said goodbye to my wife and daughter (they werenít sure I would survive the operation because I was very weak), I told my wife which boxes I would like to have in the future.
Itís now four months later and my health is improving. Every day I spend some time painting the figures. The result isnít what it used to be because my hands are a bit shaky (due to medication and weakness), but I still love doing it.
So I would like to thank you all for the help your products gave me in a difficult time.
As an attachment with this mail you'll find 4 pictures of my Sherwood Forest-diorama (still without the trees and bushes). I learned that taking pictures of toy soldiers is very difficult. The borrowed digital camera I used didn't allow me to focus manually and it kept focusing on the wrong details. When I finish this diorama, I'll take pictures the old fashioned way with my own camera and scan them. I have now twice a week a special workout, so I'm convinced I'll be able to go to the store on my own soon and buy the trees.
There is still a long way to go. I tried some figures conversions but ended up with horribly mutilated figures with decapitated heads because of my shaking hands. It'll have to wait...
Like you, my parents also bought me toy soldiers as a kid. I still have a lot of them (mostly WWII-figures), but unfortunately some sets are incomplete. Luckily most of them are available as re-issues. But if time travel was possible I would definitely go back to the 70's and tell myself to be more careful. And I would tell myself of course to enjoy my hobbies intensely, because life can end abruptly, as mine nearly did, and it doesn't always happen to somebody else. Perhaps some of the other enthusiasts will realize this when you put my story on the contribution page. Even if it's just one person, it'll give me the feeling that my suffering (and that of my wife and daughter - people tend to forget that fact) hasn't been useless.
Just to show you how this hobby can influence you're life: Recently I was at a theater where an American group performed Jesus Christ Superstar. I noticed during a particular scene that I wasn't looking at the scene itself; I was examining the wardrobe of the Roman soldiers... Funny.
Many thanks to Mr. Martin Bergsma.
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