Dream takes flight in Romania | NevadaAppeal.com

Dream takes flight in Romania

Sheila Gardner

Two years ago, Sara Bierman Blattler launched a dream that began with a good heart, boxes of warm winter clothes from friends in Northern Nevada and a belief that one person can make a difference.

Since then, the 34-year-old Carson High School graduate has seen her vision grow into Second Chance Romania, a self-sustaining organization that brought change and modernity to a tiny village halfway around the world.

Blattler, her husband Christophe and their two young children have lived near Bucharest for the past few years. Christophe Blattler works for British American Tobacco.

Sara Blattler learned of the extreme poverty in Berceni when she hired Cosmina Pandele as her daughter’s nanny.

Blattler contacted her mother, Shirley Bierman, of Carson City, and the word went out for warm clothing and financial donations to initially aid 27 families, some of whom lived on less than $30 a month in shacks without heating, plumbing or electricity.

Northern Nevadans opened their hearts and their pocketbooks, donating $20,000 in just a few weeks, plus hundreds of pounds of clothing and school supplies.

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It became too costly to send clothing and supplies that could be purchased in Romania, so Blattler and her international team of volunteers concentrated on fund-raising, using the donations to upgrade village schools and give jobs to local residents to make them self-sufficient.

In a recent e-mail, she outlined the progress of the past year.

“We have focused our activities in four areas: to ensure survival of the local community (food drives, etc.) to initiate social change and responsibility, to create better futures through education initiatives for children and adults and to bring smiles to the community,” she said.

Second Chance Romania has been asked to help children with cancer.

An 18-month-old girl was diagnosed with an abdominal tumor. Second Chance is hoping to send her to a children’s hospital in Israel or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. She said hospitals in Romania are unable to harvest stem cells or perform bone marrow transplants. They were set to take the baby to Rotterdam, but the cost more than doubled.

The organization helped fund a leg amputation for an 11-year-old girl who was sent to Amsterdam. She is to be fitted with a prosthesis in January and is in a rehabilitation program.

“She is incredibly strong and her joy is apparent,” Blattler said.

Work this year also focused on Berceni’s senior population.

One senior center has been set up and second is in the planning stage.

Contact reporter Sheila Gardner at sgardner@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 214.

INFORMATION

For information about the program or to contribute, contact Shirley Bierman, 882-2507.

ON THE NET

Second Chance Romania:

http://www.secondchanceromania.org