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Rinat Akhmetov – Saving Lives: Helping Little Milana


During 15 years of its operation, the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation implemented dozens of projects. These were both local initiatives and national-scale programs. But it all started with providing support to people who found themselves in difficult life circumstances and were in dire need of urgent help. The principle “help here and now” formed the basis of the program Rinat Akhmetov – Saving Lives.

‘Since 2014, more than 50,000 Ukrainians received help under this program, including targeted assistance with medical treatment to more than 6,500 children. The Foundation helped people undergo major surgeries, provided health rehabilitation courses to wounded children, and donated medicines to seriously ill people on the front line,’ said Kateryna Svyrydenko, the project manager of the Foundation.

One of the program’s participants was four-year-old Milana Dzvonyk and her grandmother caretaker Svitlana Matyash. They live in Slovyansk now, and since the beginning of the war in Donbass, the family has changed nine places of residence. Since early childhood, little Milana was diagnosed with severe heart disease and dislocation of her hip joint. The first priority for doctors was to treat the girl’s heart. By the time she turned one year old, the girl had undergone heart surgery. Only after she gained in strength, the doctors allowed her to be operated in order to set in her dislocated joint.

‘I saw a problem with Milana’s hip joint when in the maternity hospital. However, doctors focused more on the heart than on the leg. After being sent for an X-ray, unfortunately, my worries were confirmed,’ explained Svitlana Matyash, Milana’s grandmother caretaker.

The internally displaced family, the grandmother raising two children alone, could not afford to pay for expensive medicines and medical consumables. The Rinat Akhmetov Foundation came to the rescue.

‘No words can describe how grateful I am to the Foundation. Moved to tears. I knew that Rinat Akhmetov would definitely not leave me one to one with my trouble. Without this help, I certainly would not have coped: first one operation, then followed by another one. It was extremely difficult,’ shared her experience Svitlana Matyash.

Thanks to the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, Milana underwent an operation and a special metal structure was installed in her leg. A year later, a second operation will be required to remove this structure. So far, the girl and her grandmother have been discharged home for outpatient treatment and further rehabilitation. Doctors put a brace (orthosis) on the girl’s leg, which will ensure the correct position of the joint.