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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

2-year-old has heart surgery

Nikita Mitriayev, the 2-year-old recipient of funds raised during last year's Mad Hatter Ball, is on his way home to Moscow following successful surgery in the United States.

Nikita was born with a serious cardiac defect that made it unlikely he would live beyond age five.

On July 13 surgeons at the University of Wisconsin Hospital connected a vein from Nikita's shoulder to his lungs, which increased the flow of oxygen. The child will return to the Wisconsin hospital in two years for surgery to correct the malfunctioning valve, a family friend said.

"Nikita shows much more energy - walking, jumping and playing with my grandson, who is about the same age", said Sarah Harder, who helped arrange the surgery.

Last October, two American businessmen based in Moscow held a charity event that raised $2, 700 for Nikita. Healing the Children, a Wisconsin charity, agreed in May to pay transportation and hospitalization. Doctors at the hospital waived medical fees.