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Millions of people donate to give 5 year old Darina a chance to smile

By Valeria Sukhova, Vera Salnitskaya
15 February 2019

Life-changing surgery is finally possible thanks to a Russian fund - and you, readers of The Siberian Times.

Darina with parents in her native town of Gromadsk, Krasnoyarsk region. Picture: Vera Salnitskaya

Our story about a baby girl born with half of her face and disowned by her family brought an overwhelming response and acted as a trigger to start a fundraising campaign. 

After the target amount of £3,000 was reached, you continued donating and gathered additional £1,355 (total of £4,355).

It was thanks to your time and generosity that The Siberian Times brought Darina to Moscow, got her through a series of medical tests, found Russian experts who thoroughly studied the opportunities for Darina’s surgery in Russia - and concluded that she had to be operated abroad.

Millions of people donate to give 5 year old Darina a chance to smile


Millions of people donate to give 5 year old Darina a chance to smileqMillions of people donate to give 5 year old Darina a chance to smile


Millions of people donate to give 5 year old Darina a chance to smile



Darina's visit to Moscow in spring 2018, pictures and video by Valeria Sukhova 


Russian surgeons require a minimum of 13kg weight to allow a child recover from a blood loss after a major surgery. 

Darina’s weight balances between 10,2kg and 10,8kg, and grows up painfully slow due to complications with eating and frequent illnesses. 

The Russian medical professionals suggested Great Ormond Street Hospital in London as one of the best clinics for Darina’s surgery.

Since the trip abroad was impossible at this stage, The Siberian Times provided an hour long video of Darina in addition to her medical documents, which were kindly reviewed by the hospital's team. 

Preliminary agreement to operate was received from the head of the hospital’s world famous craniofacial unit Professor David Dunaway; the surgical bill came to approximate £67,400. 

Millions of people donate to give 5 year old Darina a chance to smileйMillions of people donate to give 5 year old Darina a chance to smile 


Millions of people donate to give 5 year old Darina a chance to smile

Darina with her parents in Gromadsk, Krasnoyarsk region. Pictures: Vera Salnitskaya


Next The Siberian Times spent several months working with Darina’s medical documents to get her case accepted for whole-Russian fundraising program of RusFond, one of Russia’s largest charity funds. 

At the end of January 2019 Darina’s story was aired by Russian morning TV show.

Within 24 hours RusFond gathered almost six million roubles donated via text messages by people from all around Russia. 

The amount should cover Darina’s surgery and return tickets from Siberia to the UK.

Yelena, Darina’s mother will be paying for translation of all their medical documents from Russian into English; the family will also have to cover basic expenses like transport and meals in London. 

Accommodation will be paid by the RusFond. 

Millions of people donate to give 5 year old Darina a chance to smile


Millions of people donate to give 5 year old Darina a chance to smile


Millions of people donate to give 5 year old Darina a chance to smile
Darina at home in Siberia with her parents. Pictures: Vera Salnitskaya


This is a major step forward on Darina’s long road to recovery, and we can never thank you enough for urging us to start the initial GoFundMe campaign and for massively supporting us. 

Darina’s mother burst into tears when she heard about the success of the RusFond fundraising campaign.

‘We will see our girl smiling and happy, years of living in endless fear for her life are coming to an end! Our beautiful girl will live, finally she will be able to play with other children!’, Yelena said. 

‘Thank you everyone for what you’ve done, we would have never managed it without your amazing support.’

A heartfelt thank you from Darina's family to everyone who supported the GoFundMe campaign, that helped the family to move this far on way to the life-changing surgery. 

Video filmed by Vera Salnitskaya


The date of Darina’s surgery is currently set for spring 2019. 

The Siberian Times stays in constant touch with the family, we will be notifying you on every significant update. 

Comments (5)

May God be with you little girl. My heart goes out to you and your family. You are precious and loved. May you soon be healed.
EBC, USA
02/03/2019 15:04
1
0
Love, prayers and hugs from Canada for Darina and her family! How awesome the support she has received!
Charlene Fairchild, Canada
18/02/2019 12:55
9
0
good luck to Darina and God bless all the good people who helped!
MORAK Benedikjt, Moscow
18/02/2019 01:36
13
0
To Georg - Thank you very much for your comment, just wanted to respond with some love, and to wish you well.
Team The Siberian Times
The Siberian Times, Siberia
15/02/2019 20:49
13
0
Being a dysmorphed person myself, I know how much hurt, especially from your peers, it causes.
So happy to see how modern tools like crowdfunding are able to raise the funds needed to help such poor souls, being subjected to some random cruelty of nature.
All the luck to little Darina, may the surgery be a sucess and the healing quick.
Georg, Berlin
15/02/2019 19:05
17
1
1

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