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7 Aug, 2009 06:15

Adopted American boy gives playground to Siberian hospital

A teenager adopted as a child and taken to the US has returned to Russia bearing gifts for his former neighborhood. After raising $60,000 online, Alex Griffith is building a park in his former hometown in Siberia.

The 15-year-old flew into Krasnoyarsk from the United States. Alex, formerly Sergey, was born there and abandoned by his mother. He was adopted and taken to America when he was a baby.

Now he wants to give something back – so he is building a playground.

“There’s a swing here, a climber for little children, and slides. The kids will be able to climb them, slide down and just run around the place,” he said.

Alex has been planning this project for more than two years and has managed to raise the $60,000 thanks to a successful internet appeal.

“I am proud of him. He came up with this idea, and many people from around the world helped him. I really support him in this,” said Dwight Griffith, Alex’s adoptive father.

He has not only got the backing of his family but also those in Russia have also been out to lend a hand.

“Just imagine, he was only one year old when he left the hospital! And now look at what a wonderful person he has become! He himself organized this entire project,” said Tatyana Yarysheva, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Children at Hospital No. 20.

Elena Popova, a patient, believes that “it is great that even those who leave Russia when they are still babies don’t forget their home country.”

With the help of family and new-found friends, it’s full steam ahead to get the playground finished for the set date – Alex’s 16th birthday.