Richmond, Va. — Ten-year-old Saule Sadykova is a long way from a dark place she once called home.
Saule’s parents thought she was cursed and abandoned her at birth because of her disabilities, but today she is curious bundle of energy with a sunny disposition thanks to a woman from Virginia.
Vicki Charbonneau befriended Saule at an orphanage in Kazakhstan.
“Just cute as a button. There was a spark in her,” Charbonneau recalled.
Five years ago, Charbonneau moved to Kazakhstan and opened J127 Ranch with a friend to help children and single mothers.
In July, Vicki raised enough money to fly Saule and her foster parents to Richmond where surgeons at Chippenham Hospital awaited. Those doctors volunteered their services to mend the little girl on the outside and in.
With her cleft lip and eye repaired and new prosthetic leg, Saule has enjoyed the simple pleasures like jumping.
“I’m riding. I’m jumping. I’m horse riding. I’m playing. I’m swimming,” a beaming Saule said.
"It has been an awesome experience getting to know her and her family,” Dr. Christopher Kim said. “If we can help. If it is in our power there is no reason why we shouldn’t jump in.”