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14-year-old Croatian girl with rare condition gets chance in America but needs help

Vanesa and her mum Kruna (Private Album)

14-year-old Vanesa Dolenec from Koprivnica in northern Croatia was born with a rare and complex cloacal anomaly. She was born without one kidney, a bladder, colon and has had her uterus surgically removed. 

Every second day she goes for treatment at Zagreb’s Rebro hospital and for her to have a normal life she requires bladder surgery and a kidney transplant. Apart the Croatian president became familiar with her case, Vanesa was finally given an opportunity and has been accepted at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center on 26 November. 

A series of operations await Vanesa in America, such as bladder enlargement, catheterization, and depending on her condition after that, a kidney transplant. All the hospital expenses, as her mother Kruna explains, will be covered by The Croatian Health Insurance Fund (HZZO), but this only sorts out part of the problem for the Dolenec family.

“I need to raise money for airline tickets, visas and accommodation because we have to pay for this all ourselves. According to the agreement with the doctors, Vanesa must be there (in America) until the end of May next year because it is a very long process and she would need to go into the hospital every three weeks. In the meantime we need to stay somewhere, we have to eat and this is all a big cost, especially for us as we have spent our last kuna on treatment for our daughter,” Kruna said. 

Kruna has reached out to a number of different associations but with no luck. The family is reaching out to anyone in the Cincinnati area near the hospital who could possibly help with accommodation. 

If you can help in any way with accommodation please contact Iva Funtek on email: [email protected]

You can also make donations to help the family on the GoFundMe page which has been set up on the link below:

Help Vanesa GoFundMe 


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