A GENEROUS benefactor who calls herself ‘the kind granny’ has made a teenager’s dream of living an ordinary life a reality.
Dorset fundraisers are overjoyed with the news that an appeal backed by the Echo which will allow Bosnian youngster Stefan Savic to have a final corrective operation on his face has reached its target amount.
This means that his operation will now take place in the UK on May 3.
And it’s all been made possible thanks to Dorset residents, Echo readers and one Weymouth grandmother.
The woman said she wishes to remain anonymous, but has been avidly following Stefan’s progress since 2003 and donated a ‘large undisclosed’ amount.
Fundraiser Wayne Ingram, of Portland, said: “I received a letter from the woman asking me to phone her and I was taken aback when she told me how much she wanted to give.
“I told her how kind she is and she was having none of it.
“She said she herself is very fortunate and has grandchildren who are healthy and wanted to give the rest of the money.
“I can’t put into words what this means.
“There are always going to be charity cases out there and people are always wanting money for something.
“But people in Dorset have taken Stefan to their hearts and have raised an amazing amount.”
The final operation will mark the end of 14-year-old Stefan’s long journey to have a new face.
He was born with a block of bone between his eyes and had a chance meeting close to his home in Bosnia with then-soldier Wayne Ingram, who promised Stefan he would help him.
Happy-go-lucky toddler Stefan’s dream was to be able to wear glasses and breathe easily.
And now a final operation will improve his breathing and complete the transformation of his looks.
Fundraisers have smashed their £15,000 target – collecting £19,273.57 in total – of which £505 came from a bucket collection in Asda organised by Sandy West and Calvin Stone.
All the cash will go towards paying Stefan’s medical and travel expenses.
Surgeon David Dunaway, who performed Stefan’s first operation, is to give his time for free but the money will pay for the surgery slot, equipment and extra staff.
The Ocean Hotel and Spa retreat on Portland will put Stefan and his family up for free when he travels to Dorset after his operation to thank supporters.
Wayne said he also wished to thank South Dorset MP Richard Drax for raising £341 by offering a lunch at the Houses of Parliament and Dorset singer-songwriter Billy Bragg for donating T-shirts and CDs for auction.
STEFAN’S mum Slavenka Savic said: “Thanks to all the warm-hearted citizens of Dorset our Stefan has been having a normal childhood.
“But, we all knew that when he reached 14 he would have to return back to UK for his final big day.
“You all have done an amazing job. We can’t believe that even after 10 years there are so many people, especially from Dorset, willing to help. People who care.
“Our friends from the UK we call them, every time we talk to someone about the people who donated.
“Every penny counts towards Stefan's new life.
“Thank you all, there are no words great enough to express our gratitude. We are looking forward to seeing you all soon.”