Survivor of Chernobyl attends Missouri university - KCTV5

Survivor of Chernobyl attends Missouri university to learn more about disaster

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Kirill as a young boy (blonde) Kirill as a young boy (blonde)

Every year students from other countries come to the United States to go to college and try and find a better life. But for one Park University, and Eastern Europe-born student, it's about understanding what happened to him.

The road to Park University has been a long one for 19-year-old Kirill Zhurauliou. Zhurauliou is a native of Belarus, a country bordered by Poland and Ukraine. He was born in Pinsk in 1994, under the cloud of the Chernobyl meltdown.

The high radiation during his mother's pregnancy caused Zhurauliou to be born missing most of his two right limbs.

"I never knew how to have an arm and a leg, but I know for sure that I'm doing pretty well," he said.

At age 6, Zhurauliou made his first trip to America to get fitted for a prosthetic and that's when he met Will Crapser.

"He just finds ways to compensate as he needs to," Crapser, Zhurauliou's American host, said.

Zhurauliou wanted to know more about the explosion and fire on April 26, 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine that released large quantities of radioactive particles into the atmosphere, which spread over much of the western USSR and Europe, and how it affected him. Radiation from the meltdown still lingers today, some 27 years later.

That's why he wanted to go to college in America to openly study the meltdown.

With help from the Crapser family Zhurauliou was able to get a $10,000 scholarship to Park University and continues to look for ways to pay for college, while studying political science and international law.

"I wanted to have a different perspective of politics because European politics and American politics are very different and when I go home I'll be able to introduce how the politics work in the United States," he said.

Zhurauliou hopes to someday, through the political system and law, be able to make sure a disaster like Chernobyl never happens again, saying Chernobyl could have been avoided.

"I think it definitely could have been avoided. We're all human, we all make mistakes. It's very interesting to study and I think everyone should know what happened," he said.

"I do see him changing things. There's not much that gets in his way, he's very focused, very diligent," Crapser said.

Zhurauliou plans to visit the actual Chernobyl site after he graduates college.

He is paying his own way through college. If you'd like to help, there is a fund set up at Capital Federal Savings in Overland Park, KS.

Kirill Zhurauliou
Deposit Acct #30036828
Capitol Federal Savings
10101 College Blvd.
Overland Park, KS 66210

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