On July 4-5, cardiac surgeon Dr. Gorbachevsky of the world renowned Bakulev Center in Moscow assisted by an echo technician traveled to Smolensk to screen children for heart defects. The city of Smolensk is some 225 miles southwest of Moscow and has a population of about 350,000 people. Smolensk is the birthplace of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space; Mikhail Glinka, the Russian composer; and the writer Isaac Asimov.
Irina Rudinskaya, RGOL's representative in Russia, helped arrange the screening mission with the local Ministry of Health. One hundred and twenty-seven children were screened for heart disease. The children came not only from the city of Smolensk, but also from villages and small towns in the Smolensk Region. Due to the nature of their defect, several children were selected as candidates for treatment in the US on the Gift of Life program. Other children will be operated at the Bakulev Center in Moscow.