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Happy-End Stories: 50 healthy hearts, thanks to the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation. BLOG by Marina Sorokina



There is nothing worse for parents than their own child’s disease. What if the diagnosis is potentially life-threatening for your son or daughter? How do parents feel when they know their child can be helped - but they don't have enough money for the expensive treatment?! Cardiac defects are annually diagnosed in 4500 young Ukrainians - and half of them can be saved.

Often, a child with this disorder could be developing quite normally, takes part in sports - but the horror of the situation is that they might die at any moment.

Little Andrey Vapirov is now 7, and he had been dreaming of attending football classes. He only watched real matches on TV, and his passion is books about football and his favorite players. Misfortune struck the family unexpectedly. After moving from Donetsk to Mariupol, the boy was diagnosed with a terrifying disease: cardiac defect. For his parents it was more like a sentence than a diagnosis they were left feeling confused. Natalya Vapirova, the boy’s mother, when naming the diagnosis – opening the arterial duct – recalls that in the beginning it was scary, and unclear not only what to do with it, but what the diagnosis really meant at all.

As soon as he was diagnosed, Andrey was forbidden to do almost everything. He had  to stay e at homr all the time. Doctors warned that the child urgently needed an operation, or irreversible consequences would follow.

The Vapirovs found themselves in an extremely difficult life situation. They did not have enough money even to rent their accommodation. A huge sum, impossible for the family, was needed for the operation. The defect could be fixed by an implant, an occlude, that costs dozens of thousands of hryvnya. It is hard to imagine the desperation of the parents.

Natalya Vapirova gratefully recalls the day when the doctors in Kiev recommended an appeal to the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation. They explained that this Foundation is able to help displaced persons suffering from this diagnosis.

The ‘Healthy Heart’ project was launched by the Foundation last February, and 50 kids have already been operated on since then - Little Andrey among them.

These days he is a happy kid, with no bad memories about the operation. He was neither hurt nor scared! He was operated on in Kiev Centre for Heart Surgery.

Thanks to the support of the Foundation, Andrey has made his biggest dream come true – he's going to football classes in Mariupol. The coach says he was hesitant at first to assign tough exercises to the boy -, but now there's no lag between Andrey and his peers.

Andrey's parents are happy with his health and achievements, and they remember the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation with warmth and huge gratitude. The mother is thankful for the life and health of her son, for the timely help, while Andrey's father calls the Foundation’s support 'a miracle'.

The Lipov family, displaced from Lugansk by events, faced similar problems. Three years ago they fled from war to Kiev, and everything had to be restarted from scratch… But that was not it for the family. Nastia, Sergey and Anastasia Lipov's daughter, was diagnosed with a cardiac defect. It was terribly unexpected for the family. Nastia is a multiple-timewinner of national tennis competitions, and she it was her greatest dream to participate in international tournaments. However, as soon as she was diagnosed with the cardiac defect, the doctors banned any sports activity. The girl was bitterly disappointed, as she had been pursuing her dream for so many years. Her brother Nikita supported her in a moment of difficulty - proving that modern medicine can make miracles happen. Occlude, a small implant, installed in the heart through a small incision on the leg, could fix the problem. The doctors of Amosov Institute were ready to conduct the operation - only the family could not afford the huge costof buying an occluder. Once again, the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation did not look away, and, helped to buy the device. Nastia is thankful to Rinat Leonidovich Akhmetov not only for help provided to her, but to other children in her situation too. Her mother Juliya is very grateful for support for the fellow countrymen.

Nastia could go back to training after the operation and the recovery period!

Igor Ditkovsiy, endovascular surgeon at the N.Amosov National Institute of Cardiovascular Surgery regrets that due to huge state under-financing it remains impossible to conduct as many operations as are truly needed

Meanwhile, the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation is helping families with seriously ill children,

Starting from the launch of the ‘Healthy Heart’ project in February 2017, the Foundation has been working with the leading heart surgeons of the country.

Stories with a happy end. The smiles of kids. Health brought back to normal, and the continued pursuit of one’s dreams… These arereally worth living for!