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'Switzerland would fit into Tyumen region in Siberia seven times. But it doesnt't want to. '

Millions of people donate to give 5 year old Darina a chance to smile

By Valeria Sukhova, Vera Salnitskaya
15 February 2019

Life-changing surgery is finally possible thanks to a Russian fund - and you, readers of The Siberian Times.

Darina with parents in her native town of Gromadsk, Krasnoyarsk region. Picture: Vera Salnitskaya

Our story about a baby girl born with half of her face and disowned by her family brought an overwhelming response and acted as a trigger to start a fundraising campaign. 

After the target amount of £3,000 was reached, you continued donating and gathered additional £1,355 (total of £4,355).

It was thanks to your time and generosity that The Siberian Times brought Darina to Moscow, got her through a series of medical tests, found Russian experts who thoroughly studied the opportunities for Darina’s surgery in Russia - and concluded that she had to be operated abroad.

Millions of people donate to give 5 year old Darina a chance to smile

Millions of people donate to give 5 year old Darina a chance to smileqMillions of people donate to give 5 year old Darina a chance to smile

Millions of people donate to give 5 year old Darina a chance to smile

Darina's visit to Moscow in spring 2018, pictures and video by Valeria Sukhova 

Russian surgeons require a minimum of 13kg weight to allow a child recover from a blood loss after a major surgery. 

Darina’s weight balances between 10,2kg and 10,8kg, and grows up painfully slow due to complications with eating and frequent illnesses. 

The Russian medical professionals suggested Great Ormond Street Hospital in London as one of the best clinics for Darina’s surgery.

Since the trip abroad was impossible at this stage, The Siberian Times provided an hour long video of Darina in addition to her medical documents, which were kindly reviewed by the hospital's team. 

Preliminary agreement to operate was received from the head of the hospital’s world famous craniofacial unit Professor David Dunaway; the surgical bill came to approximate £67,400. 

Millions of people donate to give 5 year old Darina a chance to smileйMillions of people donate to give 5 year old Darina a chance to smile 

Millions of people donate to give 5 year old Darina a chance to smile

Darina with her parents in Gromadsk, Krasnoyarsk region. Pictures: Vera Salnitskaya

Next The Siberian Times spent several months working with Darina’s medical documents to get her case accepted for whole-Russian fundraising program of RusFond, one of Russia’s largest charity funds. 

At the end of January 2019 Darina’s story was aired by Russian morning TV show.

Within 24 hours RusFond gathered almost six million roubles donated via text messages by people from all around Russia. 

The amount should cover Darina’s surgery and return tickets from Siberia to the UK.

Yelena, Darina’s mother will be paying for translation of all their medical documents from Russian into English; the family will also have to cover basic expenses like transport and meals in London. 

Accommodation will be paid by the RusFond. 

Millions of people donate to give 5 year old Darina a chance to smile

Millions of people donate to give 5 year old Darina a chance to smile

Millions of people donate to give 5 year old Darina a chance to smile
Darina at home in Siberia with her parents. Pictures: Vera Salnitskaya

This is a major step forward on Darina’s long road to recovery, and we can never thank you enough for urging us to start the initial GoFundMe campaign and for massively supporting us. 

Darina’s mother burst into tears when she heard about the success of the RusFond fundraising campaign.

‘We will see our girl smiling and happy, years of living in endless fear for her life are coming to an end! Our beautiful girl will live, finally she will be able to play with other children!’, Yelena said. 

‘Thank you everyone for what you’ve done, we would have never managed it without your amazing support.’

A heartfelt thank you from Darina's family to everyone who supported the GoFundMe campaign, that helped the family to move this far on way to the life-changing surgery. 

Video filmed by Vera Salnitskaya

The date of Darina’s surgery is currently set for spring 2019. 

The Siberian Times stays in constant touch with the family, we will be notifying you on every significant update. 

Comments (18)

Darina , seus olhinhos tem tanta doçura , me encantei com vc, vc é uma princesinha. Que Deus abençoe grandemente a sua vida, vc será muito feliz, ..
Luiza, Brasil
17/04/2020 07:02
Is there a fund for the next surgery that I can contribute to?
Derek Hart, UK
18/11/2019 01:50
Incredible little girl. Is there a fundraising page for the next surgery? Thanks.
Luke Martin, United Kingdom
08/10/2019 03:09
Saw your story on TV here in South Africa. Sweet beautiful little Darina. ..we pray you receive the best treatment and heal well so you may live a full life which you deserve. All the success and strength to her parents ...your girl is blessed to have loving mum and dad who never give up. May God guide the hands of surgeons and grant the outcome to be good. Keep us updated on her progress. Love and Prayers from South Africa.
Dollie, South Africa
08/09/2019 04:13
Help Siberian, I have a daughter with Nager syndrome who is equal to Darina but now she is 20 years old she was born without a chin without lips without cheekbones her teeth stood out the same and her eyes are identical her hands are her thumbs, it is the first time my daughter sees someone like
My email is
16/08/2019 11:38
Necesito contactarme con la familia Shpengler, tenemos una hija de 20 años que nació igual a Darina
16/08/2019 11:33

Пожалуйста, мне нужно связаться с семьей или журналистом «Сибирских времен», так как моя дочь равна Дарине, но ей уже 20 лет! Я хочу, чтобы вы знали о методах лечения, которые моя дочь Аранцазу получала в течение этих лет, они должны знать нас, так как мы могли бы внести огромный вклад в семью, так как для их больших пальцев проводится инновационная операция, моя дочь была бы подрезана, но чилийский врач помог ей держать свои пальцы и быть в состоянии занять их. Он также был на лечении зубов всю свою жизнь. В Чили то,
16/08/2019 11:31
Bitte halten Sie uns auf dem Laufenden wie die OP verlaufen ist. Ich habe Tränen in den Augen und hoffe das alles Gut ausgeht. Das Mädchen ist ein kleiner hübscher Engel und ich drücke ganz fest beide Daumen, dass alles gut wird. Good Luck Darina!
Raymond, Berlin
17/05/2019 05:51
Fuerza para toda la familia....que Darina sea siempre muy feliz...
Yanina, Argentina
05/05/2019 10:31
Dearest Darina and famile . I just saw you and you have deeply touched my heart . I pray and hope that your precious little girl Will have a succesfull and safe healing , i know she will get through this , she is so strong . May your life be easier and happy ! You truly deserve all help . Sending my love to Darina ❤️ Best wishes from Denmark , Ulla
Ulla Melander, Denmark
22/04/2019 05:18
Darina is so beautiful and wonderful and just a sweet gift from God. She may be dysmorphed (I think i used the wrong word for that.) but she is a beautiful girl and must be full of suprises. She didn't choose to be like the way she is and that's ok people need to accept that she may look diffrent but by that video she acts just like any other kid i know. I am praying for her. How old is she if that's personal then do not anwer.
Ciara, America
17/04/2019 03:59
This little girl deserves a chance to have her life changed to be as useful as any of the rest of us who are so fortunate to live without having such a disability. Thank you to all who could donate and continue to donate something for someone in need of a blessing from the rest of us more fortunate. Thank you also to RusFond for all you do to help those in need.
Edward, Prescott, Arizona, US
10/04/2019 11:46
Darinochka, smarties and strong girl! I wish strength of spirit. The world is not without good people
Darinochka, umnichka i silnaya devochka! Derjis, mir ne bez dobryh liydey
Anastasiya, Uzbekistan
08/04/2019 17:01
May God be with you little girl. My heart goes out to you and your family. You are precious and loved. May you soon be healed.
02/03/2019 15:04
Love, prayers and hugs from Canada for Darina and her family! How awesome the support she has received!
Charlene Fairchild, Canada
18/02/2019 12:55

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