Page 142 - The Chapka 2016
P. 142

   Wayne and Stefan in 2003 Wayne and Stefan after his last operations in 2016
Mission Stefan
This mission, if one can name it as such began after a chance meeting whilst stationed in Bosnia in 2003. I was employed as a Troop Sergeant with B Squadron 9th/12th Royal Lancers, stationed in Banja Luka. My troop and I were tasked to look after an area named Laktasi, so as in the tradition of any good Lancer we all went about the task with eagerness.
It was during a planned meeting I was introduced to a gentle- man named Milos Savic who worked for the ministry of defence. Milos showed me a picture of his son, Stefan who was born with a severe facial deformity. He stated that care had been promised at a cost of £30,000, however; he was unable to pay for this as he would never be able to raise those funds.
My heart was broken on seeing the picture of this young chap but although Milos was pleading we help him I could not prom- ise. I did state I would do my best, little did I know this was going to be a 14-year trip with many sleepless nights of worry!
The first event I organised was a football match between the squadron and local nationals. My stipulation was this team had to include all post warring factions. On a sunny afternoon Serbs, Croats and Muslims all donned football boots to play against the British Army, well B Squadron! Not only did this achieve the amazing result of raising over £6000 but it also united people who had previously fought against one another into a united cause.
With the first funds raised I approached a well known chil- dren’s cranial facial surgeon from Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) for Sick Children who stated he would be able to help with surgery, however; would have to see Stefan first.
With this amazing news, a full fundraising event took place dur- ing my R&R. Cake stalls held, BBQs attended, standing at the end of tills waving buckets at a local supermarket and some great press coverage managed to raise over £35000. I also attended GOSH for the first time to introduce myself to the amazing man I now know as Professor David Dunaway.
Step forward to September 2003, with £85000 raised Stefan, his mother and aunty arrived in the UK care of the RAF for the first of his five operations, and the start of 14 years continued fundraising drives.
A chronological order of events is as follows: September 2003 in GOSH, removal of his entire teeth in preparation for the main operation, on the 18th October 2003 in GOSH, Stefan under- went a mammoth 12 hour operation to completely deconstruct, then reconstruct his facial bones. In May 2005 in GOSH, Stefan returned to have the first nasal reconstruction. In May 2014 in GOSH, Stefan returned to have his second nasal reconstruction and finally on 18th October 2016 in Portland Hospital, Stefan returned for his final operation to correct his nose for cosmetic appearances.
This whole-time period has been a world wind of emotions, fear, anxiety and jubilation all mixed into one. Various fundraising events have continued, motorbikes sold to achieve the amounts to bring him back to the UK. I am extremely proud to say the total raised to date stands at just over £145000, and Stefan no longer needs any surgery.
It must be said the driving force behind this finally ending, and goals achieved has to be “I was/am a Lancer”. We have always done what’s right, not only for ourselves but our friends and those we have been asked to protect and look after. Hearts and minds has never been just a word for us, but words we live and breathe every time we deploy abroad.
For pictures and to see my other events please look at my web- site:
Editors note: Mr Wayne Ingram was awarded the Serbian Humani- tarian Award in February 2017 and made a Freeman of The City of

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