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Cambodian girls to receive much-needed surgery

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By Eden Hynninen

Children First Foundation have welcomed two Cambodian girls to their Miracle sMiles Retreat in Kilmore East.

Five-year-old Lyly and seven-year-old Reksa travelled with their mothers from Cambodia to undergo surgery with the craniofacial unit at Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Both girls have neurofibromatosis type two, an uncommon condition that causes the development of swellings (non-cancerous tumours) on the nerves that affect hearing and balance.

Cambodian charity Khmer Sight and generous volunteers organised and paid for flights for the two girls and stay in constant contact with members from the retreat.

Reksa is in Adelaide undergoing examination for her pre-op and is expected to be treated at the end of May.

Lyly and her mother Ratha are staying in Kilmore East waiting to travel to the Adelaide hospital.

“To have my child here in Australia is great, I’m very grateful. I didn’t know how we are going to do her operation without any money but we’ve has so much support,” Ratha said.

Lyly said she was happy to be staying at Kilmore East, but she missed playing with Reksa.

“Children here and in Cambodia don’t play with me. They call me ‘Big eye’,” she said.

“It hurts to sleep on this side [swelling side], so I sleep on the other.”

It is unknown how long the procedures will take, and how long they will stay at the Kilmore East retreat.

Children First Foundation assist disadvantaged children around the world who require medical treatment in Australia – residents stay at the retreat before and after surgery.

Children First’s Deb Pickering said the Cambodian community had banded together to help the girls.

“They have been doing fundraising for the girls and calling to make sure that they are okay,” she said.

“They often call me and ask if there’s anything that needs to be sent over.”

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