My name is Alberta and I have been living in Russia since 1993. I am a mother in a Family House of the Pope John XXIII Community and responsible for a day centre opened by the Community here in Elista for disabled children. It was here that I met Baira, a mother like me of three children, the last of whom was born on 8 September last.
It is precisely her story that I want to tell you: how much joy we felt the day Vlad was born... a small creature that comes into the world is always a wonderful event. But it was immediately clear that the child, his mother and father would have to find the strength and courage to begin a long labor between medical visits and hospitals.
Vlad was born with a cleft lip and a malformation of the palate, a malformation that interferes with his feeding, the use of language, the development of his teeth and hearing, with the risk of ear infections. He cannot be breastfed and drinks milk only through a specific bottle or a nasogastric tube.
That malformation can be cured, but 4 operations are needed, to be carried out at precise moments of his growth. Operations that in Russia are totally paid for by the patients. Vlad's parents can't afford them, but "Vlad must have a first operation immediately, within 3 months of life, otherwise his respiratory functions will be seriously compromised", were the words of the doctors at the Moscow hospital. I want to help them, we can help them, we must do everything we can to make this little miracle happen.
There is not much time, the first operation must be done by December 8, before Vlad turns 3 months old. The other 3 operations will also have to be done with precise timing. The expense is considerable and includes the cost of travel to Moscow, which is 1,300km from Elista, specialist visits and rehabilitation.