Eight Year Old Vanya Needs Your Help

California Ear Institute, Palo Alto, CA

  • $1.00

Vanya Primak was born in Russia without two fully-formed ears. His right ear had only a 50 percent hearing ability. He had no hearing at all in his left ear, which did not have an ear canal. From the age of 5 months, Vanya had to wear a device on his head that amplified sound, but its effectiveness decreased over time. Without groundbreaking American medical treatment, Vanya would soon lose his ability to speak and be forced to live in a world without sound.

Vanya has microtia, a rare birth defect, which causes a child to be born with small, malformed, or missing ears. One out of every 10,000 babies worldwide is born with this condition. The Russian American Children’s Foundation in New York works with the California Ear Institute in East Palo Alto to help Russian children born without ears. American surgeons use advanced surgical techniques to create an ear where there wasn’t one and, more importantly, to give a child the gift of hearing.

Vanya has had two successful ear surgeries in California, one on each ear. After his very first surgery, Vanya’s hearing had already shown distinct improvement. As his mother tucked him into bed, she whispered, “I love you very much.” Before, he wouldn’t have heard her, but now he whispered back, “I love you too.”

Vanya now needs surgery to correct a perforation in his ear drum. He needs to travel to the U.S. again for emergency ear surgery in the second half of June. He needs financial assistance with travel and living expenses for a three week stay in California while he recovers.