Community News

Mending Kids Gets an Update From Alums, 11 Years After His Life-Saving Spinal Surgery

by: Danielle Vogt
Posted: October 15, 2018

GLENDALE...Mending Kids former patient Mark, proved against all odds that he is a survivor. At birth, the Ukraine doctor that delivered him told his family, that he had no more than three months to live. On Mark's birthday, May 18, 2007, his family learned that Mark had been born with complicated spinal birth defects, including an infection in his spinal cord.

Mark's Mom and Dad were not willing to give up that quickly. They sought help at the Institute of Neurosurgery, a leading healthcare institute in Ukraine, to find the best treatments available. Sadly, the doctors there could not stop the initial infection and the infection had to be treated before the surgery could occur. At the time, their only hope was to seek surgery in The United States but the high costs of treatment were not affordable to them. They felt urgency but had no immediate solution. 

Their extended family in the United States had been doing some research of their own and discovered Mending Kids. Mending Kids International stepped in and flew Mark and his family the 16 hours from Kiev to the UCLA Medical Center in June 2007, when Mark was only about one month old. Multiple surgeries were performed over the course of several months, primarily by Dr. Jorge Lazareff, and they saved Mark's life. 

"Most of all we are thankful to Mending Kids International for bringing Mark to the United States and for providing funds for his treatment. It is incredible what MKI did for our family. There is a considerable chance that Mark would die if there were no Mending Kids intervention," says Mark's Mom, Anna Nesteruk.

Today Mark is 11 years old. He is a successful student despite all of his past medical complications. He plays the violin and likes to read. Even though Mark is in a wheelchair, he is often seen smiling and playing with his younger brothers.

For more information about Mending Kids and our Overseas Surgical Missions or to support our efforts to provide critical surgical care, visit Photos:MendingKids

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