When Sasha Yezhenkova and Nastya Krent entered Brendon Ball?s dental surgery in Freshbrook their lips were tight shut, both were pale with worry, no way were they going to let anybody examine their teeth.
But gentle words of reassurance in Russian from dental nurse Elena Sinclair persuaded the children to open up a little. By the end of the session the youngsters had relaxed – in so far that any child who has never been to the dentist can. Unfortunately Brendon said he would have to do some major work to stem decay.
Sasha is the 13 year old sister of Kristrina Yezhenkova who came to stay with Haydon Wick?s McGiffin family in May. She came with the West Wilts branch of Chernobyl Childrens? Lifeline which organises respite visits for children living in the shadow of the Chernobyl nuclear power station which blew up in 1986 spewing radiation over a wide area.
Doctors in Belarus say the four weeks away from the radiation zone can boost a child?s immune system by up to two years. Sadly Kristina was diagnosed with a malignant mole and returned to Belarus for an operation. The last report is that she also has problems in her lymph nodes.
Not only are the McGiffins helping Kristina?s family, they decided to give older sister Sasha and her friend Nastya the chance to visit, and also set up a Swindon branch of Chernobyl Childrens? Lifeline. In just two months 12 families have come forward to host children next February, largely in response to Virginia’s article in the July edition of SwindonLink.
Brendon also contacted her after reading the article. He has close links with dental services in the Cherkassy region of Ukraine, close to Chernobyl, and offered to check the children?s teeth without charge. He said, “the children were petrified when they arrived; I imagine they have a horror of dentists, because, unless you can pay, procedures are routinely carried out without pain killers.”
The girls were also checked over by Specsavers who supplied Nastya with glasses without charge.
Virginia said the girls live in a remote village and come from poor families who live in wooden huts without running water or heating. “We are very grateful to Brendon and Specsavers, and all the people who are helping to build Chernobyl Childrens? Lifeline in Swindon.”
Over the last month the two girls and Virginia’s children have been been horse riding, to Centre Parcs at Longleat where they went scuba diving, Cotswold Wildlife Park, Lydiard Park and its church, 10 pin bowling, sailing, swimming at the seaside and to the Bristol balloon fiesta.
On 17 August they were guest with three other children from Belarus at the Swindon Robins speedway meeting against Reading Bulldogs where they met Swindon’s Russian rider Renat Gafurov and Reading’s world championship contender Greg Hancock from the USA.
If you can sponsor a child, contact Gin McGiffin on 07753 662891 or mail: email@example.com
To read Virginia’s article about CCL in Swindon and sponsoring a children from Belarus, follow this link: http://www.swindonlink.com/php_article_show.php?id=147
Top: A hug for Brendon and Elena from Nastya at Freshbrook dental practice. Front, Sasha and Virginia McGiffin
Second, meeting Swindon Robin’s Russian star on 17 August Renat Gafurov as he prepared his bike from left, Natalia Stanelevich, Nastya Krent, Sasha Yezhen-kova, Katya and Dennis Shashkova
Third, the children with Swindon’s multi-national team.
Bottom, with Reading’s American rider Greg Hancock