By Stephen J. Bronner
Katya Lebedeva always wanted to be a ballerina, but a hole in her heart prevented her from pursuing her dream.
She underwent two procedures in her native Russia, including open heart surgery, but doctors were unable to cure her. Russian Gift of Life recently brought her to the United States, where she underwent a new, minimally-invasive procedure at St. Francis Hospital, The Heart Center, in which a catheter-based device navigates through the arteries and veins to deliver a plug to the space.
The procedure was donated by the Roslyn-based hospital and Dr. Sean Levchuck, chairman of pediatric cardiology, who performed the surgery.
“This technology is a miracle for children who generations ago would have to undergo major surgery,” he said. “After recuperating at the hospital overnight, they can begin playing outdoors the very next day.”
Last week, Katya met with Lynbrook resident Joan MacNaughton, founder and director of the Rockville Centre's Leggz Ltd., who presented the would-be dancer with ballet toe shoes autographed by Russian ballerina Oksana Konobeyeva, who performs in the U.S. and is affiliated with Leggz.
When Katya returns home, the hospital said that she’ll be able on her way to becoming a ballerina.