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Grigorieva Natasha, 4 years old

Clinical diagnosis: patent arterial duct (ductus arteriosus).Urgently needed: money to pay for medical treatment at the Clinic for Pediatric Cardiology and Congenital Heart Diseases at the German Heart Center in Munich. Funds raised to date: 15,000 euros for the operation.

At the left: Natasha’s drawing

The four-year-old Natasha — the only child in the Grigorievs family — was born with a congenital heart disorder and a dentofacial defect. At the age of 16 weeks the little one underwent the first operation to correct the bilateral cleft of the upper lip; as soon as four weeks later she underwent her second operation. Throughout those months, doctors at the Bakulev Cardiovascular Surgery Scientific Center were watching her heart rate. Until recently, no operation was necessary.

The doctors have ruled that the child will need to have her third dentofacial operation at the age of six, before milk teeth begin to change. Then, there will be a chance to rectify the mistakes of nature.

But for the operation to be successful it is necessary, first and foremost, to eliminate the heart defect, the patent arterial duct. Dentofacial surgery will require a lengthy spell of anesthesia, which Natasha’s weak heart will scarcely be able to tolerate.

Following a medical examination that Natasha underwent in April of 2005 the doctors concluded that time was ripe to close the duct. The most sparing therapy in this case is the so-called endovascular method whereby doctors perform small punctures of a patient’s skin under X-Ray fluoroscopy, thus avoiding more invasive therapy. Such operations have long since been practiced in Europe, and quite successfully.

The doctor in charge of Natasha’s case at the Bakulev Center suggested that the girl’s parents entrust their child to the care of professionals at the German Heart Center in Munich. That center has been officially named a leading medical institution for diagnostics and treatment of cardiovascular diseases in Europe.

The cost of the operation is 15,000 euros, according to German doctors. An ordinary Russian family could not afford to pay that much. Besides, the amount required has proved much higher. The Grigorievs were advised to carry about 5,000 euros on them, to provide for unforeseen expenses. Thus, the total amount required grew to 20,000 euros. Natasha’s parents, hardy and optimistic as they are, were on the verge of despair.

We have heard of Natasha’s story from our friend, Galina Chalikova, coordinator at the Donors to Children group. Galina reported that money was needed urgently as the operation was scheduled for September. Collecting such an amount in such a short period of time was not easy, of course.

We hoped to do our best, inviting donations of 500 or 1,000 USD… No one could even dream that there would come someone whose heart would go out to the four-year-old and who would be willing to part with 15,000 euros only to give her another chance to become a healthy child.

Several weeks later the required amount was transferred to Munich. But due to a number of reasons the operation had to be postponed till mid-October. Now we are waiting for Natasha’s return, with impatience and hope. We will report on the results of the operation and the girl’s state of health.

Our foundation’s coordinator has recently paid a visit to Natasha and her parents. The girl, who only recently had been weak and listless, has taken up figure skating and drawing, and her parents are happy. She has drawn a snowman for our foundation, as a present. We very much hope that her heart will stay strong and the doctors will be able to perform the necessary surgery as soon as it becomes possible.

You can make a donation or help us otherwise:

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