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Victoria Hand Project team returns from Ukraine

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When the war in Ukraine broke out, Andriy volunteered to join the Ukrainian armed forces. He quickly found himself on the frontlines of the war against Russia.

Roughly 10 months ago, Andriy suffered a catastrophic injury.

“He was missing his arm above his elbow,” said Kelly Knights, chief operating officer at the Victoria Hand Project.

She and a small team just returned from two weeks in Ukraine, outfitting soldiers like Andriy and civilians with 3D-printed prosthetic limbs.

“I think talking with the patients and the clinicians there, it really emphasized for me how important it is that Victoria Hand is there,” said Knights.

The charity has been operating in the wartorn country for five months.

This was Knights' fire trip. Nick Dechev, who is the founder of the organization, was there in February, establishing the group's operation.

“When we were there we fit five people in Lviv,” said Dechev.

The latest trip was meant to expand the operation with a goal of helping more people.

“We brought on this trip a lot more 3D printers and really powerful computing tools to use the software to create the sockets,” said Dechev.

Dozens of new clinicians were also trained.

“This trip really allowed us to conduct the training and provide them with the equipment to create the prosthetic arms themselves,” said Michael Peirone, CEO of the Victoria Hand Project.

The Hand Project is currently operating in Lviv and Vinnytsia, both in the west of Ukraine.

Now there is enough equipment and trained clinicians to establish satellite operations in the east of the country, the area that has seen most of the fighting.

“It allows it so that the patients don’t need to travel to one site from across the country,” said Peirone. “It really expands the access to care.”

On this trip, five civilians and three soldiers were outfitted with arms. The group has now brought enough equipment into the country to build approximately 100 prosthetic arms.

As the war rages on, the need for prosthetics in Ukraine will only increase. The Victoria Hand Project is now positioned to give more people in the country a helping hand.

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