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Community rallies in America to help 14-year-old Croatian girl with rare condition

Vanesa and her mum Kruna (Private Album)

Last week we wrote about 14-year-old Vanesa Dolenec from Koprivnica in northern Croatia who was born with a rare and complex cloacal anomaly. 

Vanesa was born without one kidney, a bladder, colon and has had her uterus surgically removed. For Vanesa to have a normal life she requires bladder surgery and a kidney transplant and she was finally given an opportunity after being accepted at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. 

Whilst all of the hospital expenses will be covered by the Croatian Health Insurance Fund, the Dolenec family was still in a desperate position. 

“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,” her mother Kruna explained. 

After we put the story out there was a fantastic response from the community in the United States looking to help. 

The good news is that accommodation has been sorted. Thanks to the public response Vanesa and her mother will be staying with Jon and Snow Mendelsohn until Vanesa goes into the nearby Ronald McDonald House in December. 


Whilst accommodation is taken care of money is still being raised to help the family with other expenses and a GoFundMe page has been set up. 

Click here to help donate. 

“Thank you to everyone who has helped. Without you this wouldn’t be possible,” said  Iva Funtek, who is coordinating the campaign. 

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