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Saturday 9 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
how to save a life

Ukrainian baby Maxim will have life-saving surgery thanks to Irish generosity

The baby boy will be the first of 30 children in Eastern Ukraine to have the surgery they so desperately need to keep them alive.

Adi Roche’s Chernobyl Children International Adi Roche’s Chernobyl Children International

THIS IS MAXIM Phillipov. He is just two-and-a-half months and has been in and out of Kharkiv Hospital in Ukraine his whole life.

He was born with genetic heart defects, critical muscular heart disease and after an operation, suffered from pneumonia which weakened his already fragile little heart.

This baby boy is now hanging on to life in the intensive care unit of the hospital.

Adi Roche’s Chernobyl Children International Adi Roche’s Chernobyl Children International

“My child is very ill. He is getting weaker every day and is fighting for his life,” his heartbroken mother Victoria said. “I live in hope for help, and I am extremely worried about his future. No mother would wish to see her child in such a condition.”

They recently received some good news – little Maxim is to be the first of 30 children in Ukraine to receive life-saving open heart surgery, thanks to the generosity of people back in Ireland.

Irish people responded to a dramatic Christmas appeal for help from a cardiac surgeon in the war-torn country. In the appeal, Dr Igor Polivenok pleaded with the people of Ireland:

Please, do not leave us alone with these troubles.

Since then more than €150,000 has been contributed to fund a series of flying doctor missions to the region. The missions, which involve flying in teams of internationally-renowned cardiac surgeons from all over the world to Kharkiv, are funded by Adi Roche’s Chernobyl Children International.

The charity funds up to six missions per year and it has also provided the hospital with critical intensive care facilities.

Today, it released a new video – a thank you message to the Irish people:

ChernobylChildren / YouTube

After the Orthodox Christmas celebrations in Eastern Ukraine, an emotional Dr Polivenok said yesterday:

It is unbelievable. It’s like a miracle that such a small island has such a big heart. I cannot find the words to express how grateful I am. You have given these poor children a chance of life. 

Adi Roche’s Chernobyl Children International Adi Roche’s Chernobyl Children International

Maxim’s operation will take place at the end of January. Adi Roche commented today that it is wonderful to know his mother’s prayer’s have been answered.

Some 6,000 children a year are born with congenital heart defects in Easter Ukraine. Without surgery, up to one third of these children will die before they reach the age of six.

As Roche points out in the video above, this is “a great way to start our new year”. 

Read: “The true meaning of Christmas”: Children from Chernobyl arrived in Ireland today>

Read: Parents of newborn baby thank Ireland after Irish-funded operation saves their son>

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