All-clear for hole-in-heart boy

PUBLISHED: 10:42 05 March 2008 | UPDATED: 21:35 15 June 2010

SACHA Ware, now 13.

SACHA Ware, now 13.

A SIBERIAN family who travelled thousands of miles to East Devon to raise money for a life-saving operation for their son have given thanks to Midweek Herald readers. Sacha Ware, now 13 years-old, lives with his family in Iskitim, Siberia.

A SIBERIAN family who travelled thousands of miles to East Devon to raise money for a life-saving operation for their son have given thanks to Midweek Herald readers.

Sacha Ware, now 13 years-old, lives with his family in Iskitim, Siberia.

Sacha was born with a hole in his heart and, at the age of three, was told by Russian doctors he would die without a vital operation to correct his heart defect.

Unimpressed with Russian health services, his father, Michael, originally from Exmoor, spoke to his cousin, Pam Sweetland, of Farway, about raising the funds for a private operation in the UK and a massive fundraising operation was launched.

Thanks, partly to generous Midweek Herald readers, £22,000 was raised and Sacha received the operation at Bristol Children's Hospital.

Now ten years on Sacha has returned to East Devon for a check-up and has been given the all-clear.

"They were getting nowhere with the operation in Siberia so Michael decided to bring him over here," said Mrs Sweetland.

"In Russia the doctors said he wouldn't even live to attend school so Michael thought they could do better in England.

"It's a much harder outlook over there.

"If you're not going to live, you're not going to live.

"Michael and I have always been like brother and sister rather than cousins.

"Lots of money had to be raised and Michael came to me and the Honiton area because he knew we would help him out, raise the money and help save his life.

"The Midweek Herald ran a fundraising campaign and through a series of events we raised more money.

"We held sponsored walks, coffee mornings, 24-hour guitar playing, sponsored slims and British Airways collected money in their New York and Houston airports.

"There was such interest in the campaign we even had ladies from Leicester and Essex holding coffee mornings and sending over the funds!

"At the time they said he may have to return for a check-up in his teens so three weeks ago he came back over to Bristol Hospital and the doctors gave him the all-clear.

"I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who was involved in raising the money a decade ago.

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