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   Inside Out - West: Monday 4th November, 2002


Arta Gjini hugging a doll

A tiny charity in the West is fighting to raise thousands of pounds for extra medical treatment for an Albanian girl.

Surgeons say they're not worried about five year old Arta Gjini, but complications mean she'll need more operations on her burned legs.

The Exmoor-based trust which brought her to England will now have to find new sources of money to pay for her care.

Arta's story

Arta came to Bristol six weeks ago for surgery to change her life.

Burns she suffered as a baby damaged her legs so badly that she could hardly walk.

As she grew, the problems grew worse.

It seemed inevitable that without surgery, which she could not get in Albania, Arta would be confined to a wheelchair.


The Albanian Medical Trust has also bought an ambulance

The Albanian Medical Trust, a small group of people based in West Somerset, were approached by a friend of Arta's family and agreed to help.

Surgeons at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, one of the leading hospitals for treating children with burns, offered to operate free of charge.

But the Trust still had to find £300 for each day Arta spent in hospital, to pay for medical care.


The surgeons at Frenchay Hospital rebuilt Arta’s feet in two major operations, and she's been making a good recovery.

Arta in a wheelchair
Arta's infection is a set back, but her surgeon remains positive

However, late last week it was discovered that one of her legs had become infected and she would need operations to clean the infection.

She'll also need fresh skin grafts.

Mr Tim Burge, consultant plastic surgeon, said,s "There were some complications following surgery which means Arta is likely to stay in hospital a little longer than planned, but I am happy with her progress."

Fund raising

The Albanian Medical Trust is now faced with having to raise a minimum of £5,000 more than it has budgeted for.

"There’s no doubt it’s going to be tough for us to raise the money. We’ve already found £14,000, but we probably need to find another £6,000 at least. But we can't send her home to Albania until the job is done." Campbell Voullaire of the Albanian Medical Trust


Everyone is still hoping that Arta will be able to walk properly soon.

None more than Arta herself, as she told her guardian in England, Maria Bardhi.

"She told me that she has seen a beautiful dream, as if her legs were just like other people."

"She saw herself walking and playing with her sisters and brother and mum and dad. She said she was feeling very happy."

Hopefully, the Albanian Medical Trust will be able to raise the money and make Arta’s dream come true.

If anyone would like to send a donation to help Arta, they can send a cheque to 'The Albanian Medical Trust', care of Spence Robert, Atlantic House, Silver Street, Taunton.

See also ...

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