Prof. Stefan Danailov was born on December 9, 1942 in Sofia. He graduated from NATFIZ "Krastyo Sarafov", where he now teaches acting students. For more than 30 years, he has been one of the leading actors of the "Ivan Vazov" National Theater, having so far recreated over 60 central roles in cult productions such as "Insidiousness and Love", "The Danton Affair", "The Long Road of Day to Night", " Hamlet” etc.
In Bulgarian cinema and television, he played central roles in over 80 films and series. He is one of the most liked Bulgarian actors in Italian film series, including "Octopus 7", "Racket", "Death of a Decent Girl" and others. He has been honored with numerous awards from national theater and film festivals.
The favorite and the dream of generations of Bulgarian women has been and will remain the "iron man" who never bends in the face of difficulties. The NATFIZ professor is trying to get back on his feet again after the loss of his wife, with whom the former Minister of Culture lived for more than half a century.
“Maria and I were connected by many deep and real things. Until the end of my life, I will carry the pain of it in my heart", said the beloved artist, member of the 43rd National Assembly, Prof. Stefan Danailov, in a conversation with a reporter of "Doctor" during the Donation Week in Bulgaria.
Prof. Danailov, you overcame the insidious disease, but not death. She killed your closest person, your great love and support - your wife Maria. Can this pain go away?
- No, never… Maria and I were connected by very deep and real things. For me, she was not only a wife, she was the person who consciously stood by me, the person who always unconditionally supported me in everything. I will carry her pain in my heart for the rest of my life.
Maria was not well, but she wanted to be alone, and she sent me to the theater - she knew that "Pygmalion" was my favorite play. She was admitted to the Third City Hospital, the doctors brought her condition under control. Two days later she died - they did everything in their power, but brain inflammation caused an insidious stroke. What was not written about her illnesses, but I am very grateful to friends, relatives, acquaintances and strangers who shared my pain. And she will be with me to the grave…
Sorry for your loss…
- Maria had chronic diseases - it is known, there is no need to hide it. Maybe that's why he didn't leave home - he liked to sit at home, read, watched a lot of TV, knew everything about what was happening in the country.
Were you sick when you were young?
- Each of us thinks that we will be he althy forever. As a matter of fact, before they discovered my leukemia, I was never sick. Rarely, a cold, and even a "caught" one, has left me at home for a day or two. You don't have time to be sick at a young age.
I haven't thought about whether I lead a he althy lifestyle, I remember eating even late at night - my life as an actor lengthens the day, I can't keep lunch and dinner times. Also, whatever was available in the hotels, on the set, that's what all my colleagues ate, not just me. But over the years came my he alth problems.
You hid your illness from your wife! Why did you do it?
- It was a huge shock for myself, I thought how could I go home and tell her that I was diagnosed with a blood disease… At first it was difficult for me to talk about the disease, now I'm used to it. I went through a lot of hard times, went into remission, then chemotherapy was needed again. I was angry at the disease, angry at myself, angry that I was causing pain to those closest to me. My wife suffered the most from my illness. She left when she found out that I overcame her… She couldn't be happy, her days on earth were not enough, may she rest in peace!
How do you feel now?
- I'm fine, I've lost weight, but I think it's because of age and because I stay away from junk food. To be honest, the loss of my wife is much more difficult for me than my own illness. There was nothing I could do - such is life. When I returned in April with the news that I had beaten leukemia, Maria had no time to enjoy herself.
She was very tired of tension and worries…
A part of me constantly nags at me that I am also to blame for her death. But Maria was very sick - she had her ailments, she took her pills, but one lives as long as one is meant to.
You have been struggling with your overweight for a long time…
- I gained pounds from nowhere, which I desperately struggled with and still could not maintain the optimal weight. Another time, I "lost" 30 kg by myself in a negative time, then I regained them again. Before the shooting of "Glass House", I underwent a strict diet for a few months with a famous expert in our country - it's Dr. Kasabieh, if you can spell it. Her diet didn't help much, but at least I lost a few pounds and felt more alive. I followed her prescriptions exactly and strictly, and the food itself is very different - rather it is special, they prepared it for me. Maria and I were on the diet, so there were no treats or foods in the fridge to tempt us. I managed to get rid of a lot of fat, which is the he althier way to lose weight. I immediately took off the blood, reduced
the pills - here's another good effect.
I was careful, and now even more so, what I eat. It was explained to me by a specialist nutritionist that my metabolism has changed a lot over the years, and now, even if I want to gain a few kilos, I can't.
I've never liked gyms, and because of high blood pressure I can't go to the gym or do cardio. That's why it was more difficult for me to lose weight. Well, it's different now - I'm thin, but I'm fighting a serious illness…
Do you think organ donation will develop in our country?
- Donation is a big problem in our society. That is why it is necessary to speak - so that the chance for a new life does not go underground! Bulgarians are reasonable people, if someone explains to them that they must overcome their pain and donate the organs of their loved one, that this must happen in a very short time, they will start to do it more and more often. The several donor situations of the last 2-3 months show that Bulgarians are both responsible and sympathetic to the pain of the people next to them. Knowing, they won't ask
will they cut off his leg, arm or nose
to take his cells. Knowing that with the organs of their deceased loved one they will save at least four people, they will - I'm sure!
People really think they have to have a bone cut out to become a stem cell donor…
- Yes, I have read and heard such questions: From which part of my body will a bone be cut?! This is a lack of information, the he alth services, even the media, with apologies to c."Doctor", are debtors to our society. Every day you have to find a way to explain how and why, especially young people, should take the noble gesture of becoming a donor. It's true - they are young, they are building their future, they don't talk about illnesses, they live in a world without commitments and in good he alth. But if at some point it catches up with them or their loved one?! Their lives collapse in fractions of a minute… Speak, write, use your power to teach Bulgarians that becoming a stem cell donor is a painless way to save the life of a leukemia patient. And from other diseases, of course. Because when I got sick, when I read on the Internet and in various books, I realized how unique these priceless cells are.
October 27, National Assembly… Will you again take responsibility for the first bell?
- Unfortunately, the constitution obliges me. I prefer other things - my students, my he alth, my friends, who lately one by one are going to a surely better world, but fate - just life goes on, regardless of my wishes!