A week before Christmas last year, Serhiy Sydorenko underwent corneal surgery on his right eye in Poland, and saw his wife, Tamara, for the first time. “It was a Christmas miracle,” he says. They were married five years after he lost his vision in an accident during military training in the Soviet army in 1986. He became a successful judo athlete, winning Paralympic bronze in 2008, but never saw the faces of his son and daughter. It was only when the family moved to Poznań after Russia invaded Ukraine that Serhiy heard about Prof. Edward Wylegala, head of the opthalmology clinic at the Medical University of Silesia, who did the surgery. Wylegala says that being in the room when Serhiy saw his wife for the first time was a special moment. Serhiy hopes for a second operation, to restore sight in his left eye. In the meantime, he is enjoying being able to see faces and places he hasn’t seen, including visiting his aging mother, son and younger brother in Zhytomyr in May.

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