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Irish charity helps save life of baby girl born on frontline in Ukraine

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Irish charity helps save life of baby girl born on frontline in Ukraine

The work of an Irish charity helping children in Ukraine has been instrumental in saving the life of an infant girl born on the frontline of the country’s ongoing war with Russia.

Baby Khrystina was born with a deadly heart condition earlier this week.

Her condition meant she likely only had weeks to live, and was further exasperated by her developing neo-natal pneumonia following her birth.

A cardiac surgical team, funded by Adi Roche’s Chernobyl Children International charity, travelled to Lviv, where they are helping children who are the third generation of victims of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

The team’s missions had traditionally been based in the city of Kharkiv, but they were forced to relocate to Lviv in western Ukraine due to heavy bombardment in the northeast.

On Tuesday, the team – which included Dublin nurse Karen Kelly – operated on Khrystina, and successfully completed a complex seven-hour surgery.

Roche, who is Chernobyl Children International’s voluntary chief executive, described the surgical team’s work as a miracle.

She added: “The surgeons and nurses have the expertise and knowledge, but without the funding behind this trip, Khrystina would have most certainly died before the end of the week…it’s a Christmas miracle.

“Khrystina owes her life to the kindness and generosity of the Irish people who funded this mission. No other nation in the world has stood by and championed those whose lives have been destroyed by Chernobyl as much as Ireland has, and this recent Cardiac mission is another reflection of Irish compassion.”

Speaking after Khrystina’s surgery, her parents said this week has been the most terrifying of their lives.

“Our daughter was born into war, and then we learned that she might not survive the week.

“Thanks to Irish people, and the doctors, we can now breathe a sigh of relief and finally feel joy after our daughter’s birth, as we now know that she will survive,” they said.

Chernobyl Children International has funded over 4,200 operations for children and babies in Ukraine since 2004.

The current generation of children are known as the ‘Grandchildren of Chernobyl’, having been born with complex congenital heart defects, which scientists believe are inextricably linked to the nuclear disaster which occurred almost 40 years ago.