[ RadSafe ] Chernobyl Heart on HBO

Maury Siskel maurysis at ev1.net
Wed Apr 19 14:23:17 CDT 2006

Ed and others,

Please forgive the length of this response. The movie purports to be a 
documentary and sounds typical of the exaggerations of the Chernobyl 
accident effects that prevail near each 26 April anniversary. I hope you 
have the opportunity to present the other side of the situation. Nations 
and charitable funds benefit or profit greatly from tugging on 
international heartstrings over this accident. Others simply profit from 
the annual business of it. As usual, it is 'all for the chilrun'.
Best regards,
Maury&Dog       (maurysis at ev1.net)


.... quote
MARYANN [De Leo]: Inspiration probably comes from more places than you 
realize, the obvious place in this case -- a friend went to see a UN 
photo exhibit organized by Adi Roche of the Chernobyl Children's Project 
and he was so moved and shocked at the photographs he implored me to go 
to see it. I didn't, then another friend mentioned the same exhibit and 
said you should make a film about what's happened there. On the second 
mention I knew I had to go and see the exhibit. Once there standing in 
front of the photographs -shocking images of children, I made the 
decision to go to Chernobyl to make a film.

HBO: Although there were obvious risks, were you at all hesitant about 
going to Chernobyl to film?

MARYANNE: No, I was probably too uninformed to realize there might be 
some danger. I also knew my life was not going to be lived there in 
Chernobyl. I knew I would be coming back to a relatively safe radiation 
free life.

HBO: The film is at times heart wrenching to watch, especially when we 
see the effects on the children. How were you able to handle your 
reactions while filming?

MARYANN: I don't know. Sometimes it was difficult to see the conditions 
the kids lived in. In this film I felt a huge responsibility to those 
kids to at least tell their story. I think that affected me more when I 
came back and realized what a difficult story it would be to tell and 
also for the audience to watch.

HBO: Have things improved for the Chernobyl and surrounding communities? 
What's the latest?

MARYANN: I don't think things have improved much. As long as the 
sacarphogus is leaking, cesium 137 is still spreading. The heart 
surgeon, Dr. Novick is returning for more trips to do heart surgery, 
which means more kids will get the surgery they need to save their 
lives. Adi Roche and her charity continue to send convoys of medicine, 
supplies, ambulances, etc. to help the people there. They continue to 
bring children from Belarus to Ireland for rest and recuperation.

HBO: What would you like for viewers to take away from your film?

MARYANN: To not forget the people there, the kids, the elderly, the 
parents. I'd also hope they witness the power of one person, like Adi 
Roche and Dr. Novick and all their volunteers who saw a need and decided 
to help and did something. Also, I want people to remember that we all 
have the power of one and also to consider the risks of nuclear 
reactors.   ......... end quote

Movie synopsis (extract)

" ... In Belarus, only 15-20% of babies are born healthy. Roche comforts 
children who are born with multiple holes in their heart, a condition 
known in Belarus as "Chernobyl heart." A lucky few will have their heart 
problems fixed by Dr. William Novick, who heads the International 
Children's Heart Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to 
helping children with congenital or acquired heart disease in developing 
countries throughout the world. After saving the life of a young girl 
suffering from Chernobyl heart and being humbled by her parents' 
gratitude, Dr. Novick affirms, "I appreciate this is a bit of a miracle 
for them...but we have a certain responsibility to these kids."

The Chernobyl Children's Project has increased the quality of life for 
thousands of young girls and boys from the heart of the "Chernobyl 
zone." Since its establishment in 1991, the project has sent more than 
30 million euros in aid to the Chernobyl region, and has brought more 
than 10,000 children to Ireland on recuperative holidays.  ..."

Ed Stroud wrote:

>Does anyone have information of the HBO special "Chernobyl Heart"? Was
>the information presented in this film ever reviewed by the scientific
>community (IAEA)? Someone at my place of employment is showing this
>film, and I would like to have some facts for our discussion.
>Ed Stroud, Health Physicist
>Radiation Management Program
>Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
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