Babies are into everything. Here in the U.S., we have every baby-proofing tool at our fingertips. We can plug every outlet, soften every corner, gate off every stair, and lock every cabinet, and even then, in a split second, our endlessly curious children still manage to find themselves in harm’s way.
Imagine living as a single mother to three children in the poorest country in the European Union. “Government housing” is a generous term for a shack with a dirt floor. Your kitchen is an open flame. You have only the clothes on your back and the shoes on your feet.
This is the reality for Silvia.
Time stood still on the morning her youngest son—at 10 months old—accidentally poured hot oatmeal over himself and sustained devastating burns and hair loss to the left side of his head and face. Over time, she realized the extent of the scarring as well as the insurmountable cost of corrective surgery.
Misha’s story was brought to us through the nonprofit Solo Visions Charities, Inc., which raised funding for their airfare from Moldova to the U.S. so that now three-year-old Misha could be treated through our Landmark Program, which offers hope to children who have no options for care in their home countries.
In partnership with Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas, LEAP provides children with the most complex surgical needs living in underserved areas of the world with the ability travel to the U.S. to receive high quality medical and surgical care—at no cost to their families.
In April, Silvia placed her two daughters in the care of church friends and took a leap of faith by stepping onto an airplane (for the first time) bound for Dallas. Upon arrival, the Doroshchuk family greeted her with a warm welcome in familiar Russian.
At his first pre-op appointment, we all immediately fell in love with Misha. Simply through the light in his eyes and the curl of his smile, he conveyed his sweet disposition and curious spirit. Without a full understanding of what was happening, it was evident that Misha was still able to comprehend that he was in the hands of strangers who cared deeply for his well-being.
In the early days, Silvia was amazed at the running water that came out of the bathtub. She marveled at electricity and the use of a refrigerator. Even Misha was thrilled to play with his new toys, despite his extensive surgeries and recovery.
LEAP Founder Dr. Craig Hobar—along with Dr. John Burns, his plastic surgeon colleague—thoughtfully developed a surgical plan for Misha. The first surgery included placement of tissue expanders to stretch his skin; the second surgery involved replacing the scar tissue. Throughout both surgeries, Dr. Burns conducted laser therapy treatment to help further reduce the scarring.
Over the course of three months, Misha remained under the care of Dr. Hobar and Dr. Burns as well as two Russian-speaking host families that provided them with endless compassion in a comforting home environment.
Misha did very well; his scarring was reduced by 80 percent, and his hairline and ear both returned to normal.
Last week, Silvia stepped back on an airplane to return home with Misha—both with a new outlook on life and uplifted spirits.
“We’re going to give Misha a chance to live a normal life,” said Dr. Hobar. “This injury won’t affect his ability to play with other kids, to go to school, or to integrate into society.”
To learn more about our Landmark Program, click here.
To watch the WFAA news story about Misha, click here.