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Archive - Monday, 22 February 1999
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HAPPINESS IN THE EYES OF WAR BABY
THREE-YEAR-OLD Marigona Krasniqui, rescued from a war zone by Sally Becker, is today celebrating after successful surgery to save her sight.
The brave tot astounded doctors by bouncing back to health almost as soon as the anaesthetic from her surgery on Friday night wore off.
She pulled off her bandages when she woke after the operation to remove cataracts from her left eye - and found a dramatic improvement in her sight straight away.
Marigona has been so thrilled she spent the weekend playing computer games with Sally's dad, Jack.
Last summer Brighton-based Sally, expecting her first child, spent two weeks in a Serbian jail after trying to rescue Marigona and 14 other children. Last week she was finally able to fly Marigona to Britain for treatment when a visa was issued.
Speaking from her parents' home in Hove last night, Sally said: "I've often asked myself, through the last seven months, if it's been worth it all."
"But when you see a result like this, a happy little girl able to see perfectly again, then it's all been worthwhile."
She added: "Marigona tore the protective bandaging off her head as soon as she woke up. She was delighted she could see. It's all gone brilliantly."
Surgeon Christopher Liu performed the operation free of charge at the Sussex Eye Hospital in Brighton. It was originally scheduled to take place at the Nuffield Hospital in Hove but had to be moved to the eye hospital because it has special paediatric facilities.
Marigona's nursing care was paid for entirely with private money.
Yesterday, Marigona spoke with her relieved mother Balbona on the phone for the first time since the operation.
She will stay with Sally and partner Dr Duncan Stewart for another fortnight, before flying back to the refugee camp where her parents are living in Shkodra, northern Albania. They will then move to the Czech Republic.
In July, Sally found Marigona among 15 terrified children hidden in the remains of their village, bombed to rubble in the fighting.
Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.