A BOSNIAN youngster who has touched the hearts of local people needs help once again to have a final operation.
Scores of our readers helped raise an incredible £85,000 in 2003 for Stefan Savic to have a new face.
Now aged 14, Stefan needs a final operation to correct his rare facial deformity, which was caused by him being born with a facial cleft – a block of bone in the centre of his face which pushed his eyes far apart causing him sight difficulties.
The new Stefan Savic Appeal needs to raise £15,000 for a further corrective operation to improve Stefan’s face and nose and his breathing.
Surgeon David Dunaway is giving his services for free, but money is needed to bring Stefan over from Bosnia and for hospital services and accommodation.
Wayne Ingram, who began the 2003 fundraising campaign for Stefan, is behind the new appeal along with original supporters Calvin Stone and Sandy West, both from Portland. Former Army staff sergeant Wayne, of Portland, met Stefan when he was serving in Bosnia and started to raise money for him to have corrective surgery by organising a charity football match.
He was so taken by the four-year-old’s plight that he continued the fundraising in the UK, arranging for the life-changing operation to be carried out at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
Wayne said: “We always knew that 10 years on Stefan would have to have another operation to repair his nose because of the growth of his skull.
“He has had three operations already and he has always been brave.
“I’ve never seen him cry.”
The operations Stefan has had have completely transformed his life, Wayne said.
“Originally Stefan just wanted to wear glasses as his eyes were on the side of his head and he couldn’t see ahead of him. He is now excelling at everything he does at school. He plays accordion and he is in the school choir.”
Former Weyline Taxis owner Calvin Stone and Weymouth and Portland borough councillor Sandy West will be helping to coordinate fundraising.
Sandy will also be arranging fundraising through her employer Asda, in Weymouth, and has her own plans to abseil down the Weymouth Sea Life Tower.
She said: “I think Stefan is an inspiration to any child. Every so often someone comes along who touches your heart and Stefan does that.
“It’s inspiring to see a positive story like Stefan’s coming out of Bosnia.”
The trio is urging all the people who originally supported Stefan to get behind his appeal once again, along with new supporters.
Calvin said: “This is the final stage. We knew from day one that something else would have to be done to make Stefan 100 per cent and this is it.
“We just want to make the lad happy.”
THE Dorset Echo is again backing the appeal to help Stefan. We are encouraging readers to give any amount, no matter how large or small, to make Stefan’s final operation a reality and complete his life-changing journey.
To donate online, go to stefansavicappeal.com Cheques made payable to the Stefan Savic Appeal can be sent c/o Wayne Ingram, 17 Court Barton, Portland DT5 2HJ.