The McGiffin family from Haydon Wick are trying to help Kristina Ezhenkova from Belarus who was discovered to have a cancerous lesion when she came to stay in Swindon.
Virginia McGiffin reports on Kristina?s treatment and calls for families in the Swindon area to offer respite care for children living in the shadow of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
I?d like to thank the people of Swindon and surrounding areas for your generous donations towards Kristina?s cancer treatment.
She has returned from the cancer hospital in Minsk in Belarus, and we have had confirmation that a second mole has been detected and there is a problem with her lymph nodes. We await the latest prognosis.
So far we have raised ?2,700 to help Kristina?s mother to be with her and to provide the medication and items which will give Kristina a fighting chance.
We are an ordinary family with three children who realised that we could give a caring and loving home to children less fortunate than ours. We joined Chernobyl Children Lifeline (West Wilts Link) last year and took part in fund raising activities and planning the visit in March and April.
Kristina and Nastya arrived with little more than the clothes they stood in, grubby and many sizes too small, clutching a broken carrier bag each. Inside was a gift which they took great pride in presenting as a thank you from their parents. Their stay was so rewarding for the expressions of amazement at the simplest things, joyous laughter and the invaluable education for my own children. See the picture below of the children playing at the seaside for the very first time in their lives.
We enjoyed hosting so much that Kristina?s sister and another 12 year old girl will stay with us in July for a month.
We live 45 minutes away from other members of Chernobyl Children Lifeline, so we have decided to set up a Swindon sub-group. The organisation is entirely voluntary, there are no salaries and all donations go straight to the cause.
The cost of bringing a child to Swindon is ?300. We are grateful for all donations, but our main appeal is for people to get involved with the charity, either by fundraising or providing a break for children. Hosting entails welcoming two children into your home, caring and nurturing them as if they were your own, providing nourishing food and giving them a holiday of a lifetime.
There is no need to over indulge or spoil the children. Allowing them to enjoy the comforts of your home and take part in organised trips makes for a very special time.
They will have been chosen because they:
o have had cancer and are now in remission after treatment;
o have other related illnesses;
o live in a highly contaminated part of the country;
o are very poor.
Every child has medical clearance to travel to the UK and pose no threat to the health of others. Doctors in Belarus say this break boosts their immune systems for at least two years, helping them to resist or recover from serious illness. It can also significantly reduce the amount of radioactive caesium which has built up in a child?s body.
If you are not in a position to actively host, maybe you could sponsor a child for as little as ?15 per month. Many of the needy families in the villages live in wooden huts without running water or heating, just like Kristina. All the money you send is paid to your sponsored family.
If you can help in any way, contact Gin McGiffin, 28 Cloverlands, Haydon Wick, Swindon, SN25 1RW, call 07753 662891 or mail: ginmcgiffin@aol .com