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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 19 October, 2019
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Irish people do their bit to help sick children in Belarus this Christmas

An Irish funded team of “flying doctors” have flown into Eastern Ukraine while dozens of children are coming over to Irish families for Christmas.

THIRTY ONE CHILDREN with special needs will fly into Dublin this weekend to spend Christmas with Irish families.

Many of the children coming from the Chernobyl region of Belarus have come from disturbed and violent backgrounds.

They live in a remote orphanage in the forest village of Vesnova. Some of the children are orphaned while some were abandoned by parents who were unable to cope with their illnesses and disabilities.

Chernobyl Children International (CCI) Voluntary CEO Adi Roche will welcome the children into Dublin Airport tomorrow morning when they met their host families. She said:

The Irish people have been reaching out to these children for thirty years and their enthusiasm and kindness never waivers.

“Irish families from all over the country unite here every Christmas to show love to abandoned and orphaned children who live with huge physical and intellectual disabilities.”

Christmas miracle 

Meanwhile, an Irish funded team of “flying doctors” have flown into Eastern Ukraine to operate on 30 critically ill children – whose lives have been hanging on a thread because of the fatal genetic heart defects they were born with.

The internationally renowned team of cardiac surgeons, led by Dr Bill Novick was flown in by CCI aid agency.

They have been performing complex open heart operations on children like 6 months old Nikita whose grandfather was one of the thousands of “liquidators”, conscripted soldiers, firemen and miners, drafted in to contain the deadly radiation released by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident.

Melisa, her mother and her grandfather Sergey have all suffered from heart defects which Dr Novick, says have a “direct lineage” leading back to Chernobyl explosion, the world’s worst ever nuclear accident.

Novick said, “We have had some remarkable successes in operating on critically ill children over the past few days and what a Christmas present it has been for them and their families.

It’s all thanks to the generosity and the sponsorship of the Irish people that children like Nikita and Anton, who was also critically ill and little Albina who is just 11 days old and will survive. Without these operations many of them would not.

Svetlana whose daughter, Milana, suffers from a congenital heart defect said:

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the people who spend their money not on entertainment but on helping seriously ill children.

“My thanks to all the sponsors and donors, such surgeries wouldn’t have been possible in this country in such a difficult time without their support and help.”

The operations costing €1,000 each were paid for through the fund raising efforts of Chernobyl Children International.

CCI has delivered €100 million worth of humanitarian and medical aid to impoverished communities and children across Belarus, Ukraine and Western Russia since 1986.

More than 25,000 children from Belarus – the country most affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster – have come to Ireland with CCI for life-prolonging holidays during the summer and at Christmas time.

Read: Check out these amazing photos of the wildlife thriving in Chernobyl’s fallout zone>

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