Chernobyl girl's joy after sight restored

<hertfordshire & ESSEX NEWS, JULY 21, 2006
THE precious sight of a teenager from Eastern Europe has been restored following two operations at a district hospital.
Ksenya Audzeyeva, 13, who comes from Mogilev in Belarus, a region contaminated by the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster in Ukraine in 1986, came to England blinded by cataracts.
She was with a party of other children for the annual life-giving month-long visit funded by the Friends of Chernobyl’s Children charity.
Ksenya – who has been staying with Vic and Andrew Hobson in Duncombe Road, Hertford – underwent her first successful eye operation at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Welwyn Garden City, and has been due to have a second one.
Friends’ trustee, Ian Livingstone, of Riversmead, Hoddesdon, said: “It’s quite something to wake up on Wednesday morning blind and then go to bed being able to see.
“When she was going home in the car, she noticed leaves on a tree and looked up in the sky and saw a plane, which she had never seen before. As a young lady of 13 she is suddenly discovering the world through the generosity of people who donate to charity.”
Ksenya paid a visit yo St Augustine’s RC Church barbecue in High Street, Hoddesdon, with 15 other children who are in the area temporarily to improve their health.
The 7- to 13-year-olds from Mogilev spend about a month annually living with families in the area.
Many keep in touch after that time including Yulia Puzikova, 14, who has been paying a private visit to hosts Angela Phipps, a special needs teacher in Cheshunt, and Friends’ coordinator Chris Sycamore from Hertford.
Four weeks of fresh air, wholesome food and free dental care, and staying with host families from around Hertfordshire boosts their immune system by two years, said Mr Livingstone.
They also attend Cuffley School in Theobalds Road and Goffs School in Goffs Lane, Cheshunt, while in Britain.
Ian’s son, 34-year-old police officer Chris Livingstone, from Ware, is taking part in the gruelling 150-mile (240 km) Atacama Desert Run in Chile and hoping to raise £2,000 for the Friends.
Thirty people died and 135,000 were evacuated as a result of the nuclear explosion in April 1986, the worst the world has ever seen. People living around the plant are still suffering the consequences, particularly childhood cancers.
marsdenj@hertsessexnews.co.uk

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