Leksell Gamma Knife introduced 30 years ago after mass national fundraiser

Leksell Gamma Knife

The first unique Leksell Gamma Knife to be introduced in the Czech Republic was bought by the Charter 77 foundation 30 years ago.

The purchase of the surgical instrument, which is used for operations on the brain, was made possible through a nationwide fundraiser organised by the Charter 77 Foundation’s – Míša account.

Míša | Photo: Czech Television

Míša was a 12-year-old boy who had become partially paralysed after suffering from a brain haemorrhage caused by a vascular disease. There was a serious risk of Míša losing his life if another haemorrhage were to occur. To prevent this from happening, surgeons needed to acquire the Gamma Knife, but this cost CZK 100 million, a huge sum of money at the time.

The public met the challenge. The Míša account managed to raise CZK 160 million crowns, a collective effort that Charter 77 Foundation founder František Janouch said surpassed even the 19th century nationwide fundraiser to rebuild the National Theatre.

The Leksell Gamma Knife was bought and arrived at Prague’s Na Homolce hospital on May 21, 1992. It went through two subsequent modernisations before being replaced by a more modern device in 2009. The concentrated radiation tool has treated around 24,000 patients since then. As for Míša, he died in 2018, but the operation had extended his life by nearly 30 years.

New Leksell Gamma Knife | Photo: Nemocnice Na Homolce