NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Cataract surgery gave 12-year-old Lillian Pravda the gift of sight, and she’s since made it her mission to help other others who need eye surgery, through a foundation she started three years ago.
“If I didn’t have that surgery, didn’t take care of it, I would be blind in my left eye,” Pravda told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan on Thursday. “It occurred to me when I was 9 that a lot of people around the world didn’t have the same access as I did.”
Maribel Pomavilla is one of those people. The 15-year-old who lives in Ecuador was accidentally shot in the head. The bullet lodged in the back of her eye.
Pravda is trying to get her to the United States.
“It’s so important. It’s amazingly important because when she comes here, she’ll get the gift of sight,” Pravda said.
Dr. Brian Campolattaro with the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary has offered to perform the surgery for free, thanks to Pravda.
“People are starting to find her from all over the world based on her ability to motivate surgeons,” he said.
Joe Occhipinti with the National Police Defense Foundation reached out to Pravda about the Ecuadorian girl’s plight.
“I plan to travel to Guayaquil, Ecuador in next two weeks, hopefully to do whatever we could to secure this child an immediate visa,” he said.
The Infirmary is at the forefront when it comes to pediatric surgery, so if there is a place that can help this 15-year-old, it is it.
“He gave me my sight. That’s why I was inspired to go do this for other people,” Pravda said.
In just three years, her foundation has helped thousands of children. She hopes Pomavilla will join that list.
The Infirmary recently named Pravda an ambassador for the hospital. Pravda’s foundation can be contacted at Lillian@visionforandfromchildren.org.
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