Fourie was born with one arm and a cleft lip and palate, conditions that doctors said were likely brought on by the lingering effects of Chernobyl. The site of the worst nuclear disaster in history in 1986 is some 70 miles from the town where Fourie was born.
“The cloud went north and the radiation went south, carried by the river,” said Fourie, 29, who was given up by his birth parents in Zvenyhorodka, a small city in central Ukraine.
“It wasn’t a whole lot of fun,” said Fourie of his first seven years spent in a government-sponsored orphanage. “We were fighting for food every day, about 130 children.”