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Langford humanitarian team delivers thousands in medical aid to Ukrainian hospitals


A humanitarian team from the West Shore has returned home from Ukraine. The team that included Bob Beckett, Bruce Brown and Christine Lervold had a goal of bringing much-needed aid to the war-torn country. Included in that aid was tens of thousands of dollars' worth of medical supplies and equipment for the country's overwhelmed hospital system.

Shashko Beleichuk was born with what is commonly referred to as an orphan disease. That’s a disease so rare that finding a treatment often goes underfunded.

“My son’s condition meant if it wasn’t caught in time, at birth, his organs would have certainly shut down, ending his life,” said Liudlyla Bileichuk, Shashko’s mother.

Fortunately for her son, it was caught in time and he’s going to be OK.

“Everybody wants their children to be safe and successful,” said Beckett.

Beckett led the recent humanitarian mission to Ukraine with many goals in mind. One of them was to make a $10,000 donation to a children’s hospital. That money was used to purchase diagnosis equipment to identify orphan diseases in newborns.

“Purchasing this equipment became the highest priority for the hospital as patients currently need to travel hundreds of kilometres away from the community for a possible diagnosis,” said Nataaiia Mytnyk, medical deputy of the Ivano-Frankkivsk Regional Children’s Hospital.

The community that houses that children’s hospital has seen its population boom due to the war raging on in the east.

“Due to the stresses put onto pregnant women fleeing the frontlines, this hospital used to deliver three to four premature births per month, now it is seeing upwards of 25 to 30,” said Mytnyk.

That is putting a massive stress on the neonatal intensive care unit. The equipment purchased will also help those tiny children survive.

“Those are the things that we’re not hearing about, that we don’t understand and don’t see,” said Beckett.

“This is something that is going to be very helpful for the pediatricians and doctors in the neonatal unit,” said Bruce Brown, a volunteer with the group.

The Vancouver Island team wasn’t done there, donating $50,000 to a 246-bed, 84-year-old hospital in a community just outside the city of Lutsk. Currently the hospital's priorities are to treat people for all types of conditions but doctors have discovered a new need developing in the community.

“The money will go towards purchasing equipment used to treat not only civilians but military personnel as well,” said Natalia Krutsko, with the non-profit organization Ukraine Medicine in Action. “A rehabilitation unit will be built to help those soldiers injured on the frontlines.”

“We’re not buying weapons to help Ukraine, we’re buying things that give them hope,” said Brown.

Hope for mothers like Liudlyla who knows how important it was for her child to get an early diagnosis for his rare condition, ultimately saving his life years ago.

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