Cork schoolgirl funds baby’s op with prize cash

A Cork schoolgirl is being hailed an “inspiration” after using €1,000 of prize money she won to fund lifesaving surgery for a baby in the Ukraine.

Ciara Judge, a student at Kinsale Community College, made the donation after winning Google’s Science Fair last year with fellow students Sophie Healy-Thow and Émer Hickey.

Ciara said she didn’t expect any recognition for the donation, made to Chernobyl Children International (CCI) five months ago, and was taken aback when CEO Adi Roche made contact with her to let her know how the money was used.

“I have quite a long-standing relationship with the charity. My family has been involved with it for a number of years — as part of the charity’s summer rest and recuperation programme we’ve taken kids from Belarus who have been affected by the Chernobyl disaster,” she said, speaking on Cork’s Red FM yesterday.

“This €1,000 went to save the life of a kid suffering from a condition called Chernobyl Heart. They were born and appeared perfectly healthy but then little holes began to appear in their hearts and they were basically going to die. And they needed an operation which costs €1,000. So that €1,000 actually saved her life.”

Cork schoolgirl funds baby’s op with prize cash

Ciara has since received a photograph of the baby and hopes some day to meet her.

“I’m getting a bit emotional now but it was fantastic. I got a picture of her, she’s 14 months old, her name is Katya,” she said.

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“I definitely want to keep in contact with her and hopefully, should I go over to Ukraine or Belarus with the charity, I hope to go over when I’m older for maybe two weeks to do some outreach work, if I could get the opportunity to meet her it would be absolutely fantastic,” she said.

Cork schoolgirl funds baby’s op with prize cash

Ciara, along with classmates Émer and Sophie, were President Higgins’ guests of honour at Áras an Uachtaráin yesterday. He recognised their achievement in science, having won the 2014 Google Science Fair and the 2013 BT Young Scientist.

The president also honored Ciara’s generous donation to CCI and the work of the organisation as a whole.


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