By Bejay Browne
THE family and friends of a toddler from Paphos are racing to find the final €8,000 they need to help give sight to the two-year-old.
Iordanis (Dani) Demetrof has been blind since birth and has already been treated in Thailand at a cost of €28,000. He needs three such treatments and his parents only have weeks left to raise the final €8,000 for the second trip.
Rafaela Dimitrova, Dani’s mother, said that just months after his birth the infant – born in March 2011 – was diagnosed with severe optic disc hypoplasia by a specialist at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
Family friend, Nadia Frangeskou, has helped to raise awareness of Dani’s plight since his mother realised that he might have problems with his vision.
According to Frangeskou, the first stage of Dani’s treatment was carried out successfully in Thailand at a cost of around €28,000. The second phase will take place on April 20.
“The total cost involved is again around €28,000, which includes the cost of Dani’s treatment and flights.”
She says the final €8,000 was urgently needed.
Family members have raised about €16,000 in total, while another €4,000 has come from fundraising events.
“We urgently need to secure the rest to ensure his treatment can take place. We are appealing to the public to help with that,” Frangeskou said.
She said Dani would have to stay at the hospital in Thailand for about a month. His mother will stay with him.
Prior to his treatment, the baby underwent numerous tests at a specialist ophthalmic eye centre in Limassol, where it was discovered that he was unable to ‘fix or follow’. He also showed no response to bright light and had roving eye movement. More tests took place at Great Ormond Street Hospital where he was finally diagnosed as blind.
However since his first treatment Dani’s sight has slightly improved in one eye and he is now able to react to light stimulation.
“We don’t yet know the percentage of improvement, as these tests are not available in Cyprus, so he will travel to Bulgaria – where they are available – to undergo checks during the summer,” said Frangeskou.
The family friend added that results of the treatment so far were encouraging. The optical nerve which had previously been white has turned a pinkish colour and according to doctors this means that blood flow has already started.
“After the second phase, it’s hoped there will be a marked improvement, and after the third we hope he will be able to see and lead a normal life. He will be able to go to school and interact with the world on a whole new level. We need to help Dani to find the light,” Frangeskou said.
The boy needs all three treatments for any real chance of being able to see.
Family and friends describe Dani as a sweet, good natured and brave boy and although a number of new fundraising events are being organised, further efforts need to be made to raise the thousands outstanding, says Frangeskou.
Initiatives have so far been organised by a variety of local groups and charities, including Children’s Smile Cyprus.
Donations can be made at Laiki Bank – Account number 35000511403.