Subject: SunTimes Perth: Liliana's surgery goes well

from Sunday Times Perth Western Australia April 9, 2000

Liliana surgery by Jan Mayman with pics

East Timorese child Liliana Trindade is happy and well after surgery this week in Perth.

In a complex operation that lasted almost five hours, an eye surgeon removed scar tissue and repaired the bony orbit of her eye.

The surgery was the first stage in the process of preparing her damaged eye socket to receive an artifical eye.

Liliana, aged eight, lost her right eye when she was hit by shrapnel last September in one of the notorous East Timor massacres at her local church, near the home of Nobel Laureate Bishop Belo in Dili.

Four leading medical specialists, an ocular plastic surgeon, a neurosurgeon a a plasic surgeon and an anaesthetist all worked together to plan Liliana'a treatment at the St John of God Hospital Subiaco, near Perth.

All Liliana's doctors and the St John of God Hospital are providing free service. (The surgeons declined to have their names published)

Liliana still has pieces of shrapnel in her head which could not be removed by surgery. After examining CT scans of her head, doctors said she was lucky to be alive.

As soon as she is fit to travel, Lililiana will be a guest of the Friends of East Timor group in Bunbury, south of Perth. They plan to take her and her family on a bush picnic where she can see kangaroos in the wild.

" We'll also take the family out on a boat trip to see our famous dolphins," said FOET Bunbury spokesman Doug Wilkerson, a retired chartered account.

"My cousin the late Royce Wilkerson was one of the Australian soldiers who served in Timor with the 2/2 commando unit. He told us to always look after the Timorese people, and that's what we're doing. "

" Two of his sons, Royce and Gavin Wilkerson are active in our group. "

Sunday Times readers have made generous contributions to the Liliana Trindade Trust Fund in Perth after reading about her story.

A Perth businessman, mining entrepreneur Peter Mano has paid for two artifical eyes for Liliana, a cost over almost $2500.

" I have ordered a spare one as well, in case the original one is accidentally broken when she goes home to East Timor," he said.

" I suggested to my wife and children that we should cancel a planned overseas holiday and spend the money instead on winter clothing and other help for the Trindades, and they happily agreed."

"I believe it is important for people like us who are comfortably off to help those in need."

The Trindades are staying in a small Perth unit with a Timorese refugee family in Perth.

After just three weeks in Australia, the Liliana and her three year old sister Elivie are are beginning to chatter in English, and their parents are learning English as well.

Thanking Liliana's benefactors for their help, her father Macario said:

"We can never afford to repay you-- but we will pray for you all our lives."

So far the Liliana Trindade appeal has raised almost $9,000.

The money will be needed to give Liliana new artificial eyes as she grows up, and to bring her to Australia for regular specialised medical treatment that is not available in East Timor.

It is also hoped to establish a special fund to provide for her education.

The Trindades, including Liliana's sister Elvie aged three were all flown to Perth free of charge by QANTAS Airlink.

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