MOTHER OF A FALLEN SOLDIER SEES HER GRANDSON FOR THE FIRST TIME FOLLOWING CATARACT SURGERY
Silvard Sarksyan is a resident of Avshar village in the Ararat Region of Armenia. Located on the slopes of the biblical Mount Ararat, the region prides itself for its delicious fruit: sun-kissed apricots, peaches, pears and apples. Silvard’s family’s main income also comes from cultivating trees and selling fruit raised in their orchard.
In 2015, Silvard started to feel that her vision was getting progressively worse, and as a result, she couldn’t see images or text clearly anymore. Within the next two years, her sight completely diminished to the point where she couldn’t work in the orchard anymore. “I was in complete darkness, I couldn’t even leave the house as I was afraid of getting hit by a car,” – Silvard shared. She was diagnosed with a cataract at the local village clinic, but the doctors were unable to help her due to the lack of technology and advised Silvard to travel to Yerevan, the capital, to get the needed surgery.
Silvard’s youngest son Artyom was making arrangements to take his mom to the hospital, but his plans were cut short. Azerbaijan has started an unprovoked and deadly aggression against Karabakh (also known as Artsakh) – an ethnic Armenian enclave, which is home to hundreds of thousands of Armenians. Like many Armenian men, Artyom went to protect his homeland. “When I sent my son off to the war, I wasn’t able to see his face clearly, “– Silvard recalls with tears in her eyes. She stayed behind, waiting for her son to return when the war was over, but tragically, Artyom was killed protecting his homeland. Several months after Artyom’s passing, his wife gave birth to their son, who was named Artyom after his father. Devastated by her son’s death, Silvard was also feeling sad because she couldn’t see her grandson’s face clearly.
Thankfully, when the AECP’s Mobile Eye Hospital (MEH) arrived at Ararat Region, Silvard was able to receive free of charge cataract surgery on board the mobile clinic. “We successfully performed cataract surgery for Silvard, the mother of a fallen soldier,” – said AECP Chief Surgeon and MEH Director Asatour Hovsepyan.
When the bandages came off after the surgery, Silvard was elated to regain her vision! She was anxiously waiting to get home to see her grandson’s face. When she saw her grandson’s Artyom’s face for the first time following the surgery, Silvard was shocked to realize how similar the baby looked to her son Artyom. “It felt like it was my son, like the second Artyom was born,” –Silvard said through happy tears.
Thanks to the surgery provided by the AECP, Silvard was able to come out of her hopeless devastation. Although her son is no longer with her, she is now able to help take care of his child, which helps to bring light and hope into her everyday life. “Words are not enough to describe my happiness, thank you for helping me see again,” – Silvard said.