Belarus Woman Returns Home After Successful Surgery arrow Belarus Woman Returns Home After Successful Surgery

The following story – written by Cheryll Borgaard – was published in the Daily News on September 14, 2009. View additional information about Dr. Turner’s work with Tanya Valodzina at Dr. Turner Assists Belarus Orphan – For the Second Time.

Tatsiana “Tanya” Valodzina has fully recovered from her April leg surgery and is now pain-free for the first time in many years.

“She is able to run. In fact, she was playing tennis the other day, something she could never have thought to do in the past,” Steve Kisley wrote in a recent e-mail from his Lake Oswego, Ore., home.

Valodzina is returning to her homeland of Belarus in Eastern Europe today, he said.

Dr. Turner with Tanya Valodzina at Pacific Surgical Institute in Longview

Dr. Turner with Tanya Valodzina at Pacific Surgical Institute in Longview

In 1996, Valodzina, then 22, visited Longview, where orthopedic surgeon Bill Turner shortened her left leg more than an inch to match the length of her right leg, which she had broken when she was 12. Inept Soviet medicine and operations had left it deformed, causing her to walk with an awkward gait.

Her surgically shortened leg felt good until about five or six years ago, she said, when it started hurting and getting progressively worse. Kisley paid for her to return to Longview, where Turner again performed her operation, this time to remove the rod that ran the entire length of her left thigh.

“Dr. Turner and his team did an amazing job and restored this young woman’s ability to walk, run and enjoy life in a way many of us take for granted,” Kisley wrote.

During her stay in the United States, Valodzina, 35, visited friends in Minnesota, Indiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, Kisley said. She made many of these friends when she attended a Bible college in Texas about 12 years ago.

Even though she is an adult, as an orphan Valodzina has to pay $800 each year in Belarus for documentation that allows her to have a job and a place to live. Kisley said he and others raised the money for the registration she will need when she returns home. “We also raised sufficient funds so she can pay her rent for several months, until she can get a job and start her life over again,” Kisley wrote.

Valodzina, who speaks English and Hebrew as well as her native Russian, hopes to return to her former job as a translator for missionaries and teachers.

Valodzina, a Christian, has not forgotten her orphan past. In Belarus, she eats only every other day so she can provide treats and toys to orphans there.

“I’m hoping we will be able to support her efforts to care for ‘her group of kids’ and build up in them a spirit of hope,” Kisley wrote. “The best prayer for Tanya would be for her to find a good man and get married. This is a desire of her heart. … As a practical matter, she would be freed from the burden of registration, since her husband’s citizenship legitimizes her status.”

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