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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

From Seattle, a gift of sight for a Russian child

A two-year-old Novosibirsk toddler and her parents flew from Moscow to Seattle, Washington, on Tuesday, for surgery that is expected to save the baby's eyesight.

Rev. Norman Meildejohn, pastor of the Catholic Chaplaincy in Moscow, said that Sonia Zapromyatova would have surgery next week to help cure the glaucoma she has had since birth.

"Doctors say without the surgery, she will be blind in about nine months", Meiklejohn said.

Calling the arrangements for the child "an ecumenical effort", he said it involved lay people from the Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran and Russian Orthodox churches in Seattle and Moscow.

Medical costs for the child will be paid by the Seattle Lions Club, which focuses its charitable efforts on assisting the visually impaired.

Several Seattle area church groups collected contributions for transportation and food, and arranged housing for the Zapromyatov family at a university dormitory.

Meiklejohn said a Seattle acquaintance asked him to help the family obtain visas and other documents.

Several Seattle residents initiated the campaign to help Sonia after hearing about her from the child's relatives, who recently emigrated to Washington.