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Health
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North America, Europe
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Cancer, Chernobyl, Healthcare, Children, Cuba
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Life goes on for the majority of the Chernobyl children visiting Cuba for medical treatment or observation. Teachers accompany the groups traveling to Tarara and school is a daily activity, except on weekends, of course.
Laura Kleinhenz

1995 — student winner

Kleinhenz documented children from Chernobyl receiving medical care in Cuba.

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Joanna Kuchiryabaya, 22-months-old, is held up in the air as her mother, Stefania, makes her way up the stairs of their house in Tarara, Cuba. They arrived in Cuba in late January to have a tumor the size of her head removed from Joanna's bottom. They are from Hmielnitsky, Ukraine, which is close to Chernobyl. Although there is no direct link to the disaster, doctors are fairly certain that such a tumor is associated with the Chernobyl toxins still present in the environment. Laura M. Kleinhenz/Alexia Foundation
Joanna looks to the beach where she was playing with her mother who is now taking a break in the ocean by herself. Although the scars on Joanna's backside will never disappear, the pain now is minimal. She stands and walks with only the assistance of a hand to hold on to and shows no problems sitting on the recent scars. Her mother is pleased that she is doing so well after such a large operation for a young child. The removed tumor was equal to the size of the child's head. Laura M. Kleinhenz/Alexia Foundation
Life goes on for the majority of the Chernobyl children visiting Cuba for medical treatment or observation. Teachers accompany the groups traveling to Tarara and school is a daily activity, except on weekends, of course. Students in Larise Ivanovna Mielnik's first grade class watch the door of the classroom as their teacher addresses them after a short break. Mielnik has 16 children on her role, but rarely are all in attendance due to the treatment schedules of the children. Many were absent on this day because of a trip to Havana for medical procedures not available in Tarara. Notice the not so familiar alphabet that looks surprisingly like the one adorning the front of American school rooms. Laura M. Kleinhenz/Alexia Foundation
Dmitriy Maidiuk, 7, from the Ukraine, poses on the balcony of his housing in Tarara for his house mate Irina Kovaliova, 7, to take his picture. Dmitriy has a malformation of the spine. When he arrived in Cuba two years ago he was not able to walk and, in his mother's opinion, he was truly handicapped. Now he runs, swims and plays like other children his own age. When he is 14, he is supposed to return to Cuba for more surgery to make the brace unnecessary. Although Irina is only seven, she has arthritis. Worse yet, her treatment is precarious because she is allergic to most medicines normally prescribed. Laura M. Kleinhenz/Alexia Foundation
Elias Deyneha, 13, from the Ukraine, on his bed in the diabetic hospital in Tarara that houses children with chronic cases. Up until Elias broke his leg playing with friends, he was staying in one of the private residences on the grounds. Now all of his activities, like schoolwork, are confined to bed until his leg heals. His face gleamed when the nurse came in to give him his lunch and surprised him with a quick kiss on the cheek. Laura M. Kleinhenz/Alexia Foundation
Nastia Chelujin, 4, stands with the assistance of her mother's hand in her house in Tarara. Mother Oxana has problems with her leg muscles. The doctors in the Ukraine suggested that she might never walk. When she arrived in Cuba two years ago, she was not able to stand. Now she can stand and walk using on the assistance of a hand or nearby object to steady herself. Laura M. Kleinhenz/Alexia Foundation
Nastia peers down into the living room looking for her mother as she is carried by her housemate, Lila Kovalchuk, down the stairs of their house in Tarara. Laura M. Kleinhenz/Alexia Foundation
Natalie Saroka kisses her daughter Victoria Marlis, who will be two years old on April 25. Compared to many of the other children visiting Tarara, Victoria's health problems are minor and are already on their way to correction. Her left foot was abnormally formed which made walking impossible. Laura M. Kleinhenz/Alexia Foundation
Annia Sipieva, 11, from Kiev in the Ukraine, has her blood pressure checked by a nurse making her rounds. On this day, her blood pressure is a little low and she is instructed to keep her activity to a minimum. Irinia Sipieva, Annia's mother, is not worried with this prognosis. The cuff is made for adults and it is common for Annia's results to run on the low side. Laura M. Kleinhenz/Alexia Foundation
Annia Sipieva sits on her bed playing cards, not feeling well enough on this morning to join her friends at the beach. Annia has been in Cuba for three and one half years on three different occasions for treatment of idiopotic nephrotic syndrome, a kidney disease. For her, some days she can run and play like a healthy child, but normally she is confined to sedate activities and a very strict diet. Only two hospitals in the world are considered specialists in this condition, one in France and one in Miami, Florida, in the US. Annia's parents have contacted both of these hospitals for advice and to seek possible medical attention. Unfortunately, they have received no response from either. Laura M. Kleinhenz/Alexia Foundation