UMANA ILLINOIS. Ukrainian Medical Association of North America

On February 24, 2022 Russia invaded Ukraine in a major act of aggression.  It is a heartbreaking and unforgettable date in the life of every Ukrainian all over the world.

UMANA ILLINOIS. Ukrainian Medical Association of North America

The invasion of Russia into Ukrainian territories has had a significant impact on the people living there. Millions of civilians were forced to leave their houses because of the rockets and bombs. Many escaped to different countries and had to start life again from scratch. Thousands of Ukrainians were violently murdered by the aggressor including innocent children. Today hundreds of brave Ukrainian soldiers fighting for an independent Ukraine are killed every day. There are no words that can describe the pain and grief every Ukrainian is feeling.  However, this war has shown that Ukrainians are resilient and strong, fighting for peace, freedom and a bright future.

UMANA Illinois (UMANA IL), is a branch of the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America (UMANA). Both organizations are based in Chicago, Illinois. UMANA IL connects Ukrainians of various medical fields from Illinois, Indiana. Iowa and Wisconsin. In response to the war, UMANA IL chapter leaders Dr. Olena Gordon, Dr. Mariya Dmytriv and Dr. Olga Maihutiak knew they had to help!  Having experience from the Maidan crisis in 2014, on the second day of the war they spearheaded the creation of the “UMANA Illinois Medical Relief for Ukraine” task force focusing on medical aid. The main goal was to supply Ukrainian hospitals and front-line physicians with critically needed medical supplies and equipment. UMANA is a medical organization and understands the needs of the injured and sick.

UMANA IL, with the help and expertise of the UMANA Foundation and their president Dr. Maria Hrycelak, began collecting funds to purchase much needed critical supplies and arrange multiple shipments to Ukrainian hospitals and clinics.  UMANA IL successfully collected close to $850,000.

UMANA IL operates at 2 different warehouses: Bensenville, Illinois and Germantown, Wisconsin. Dr. Douglas Davis coordinates the medical supply collections and warehouse in Wisconsin. Dr. Davis, an Illinois Chapter member, was inspired to continue the IL Chapter mission in Wisconsin. Thousands of volunteers help the UMANA IL Chapter with packing pallets, suitcases, delivering donations to the warehouse and then on to Ukraine. UMANA IL has established a reliable network of volunteers in Ukraine that help to purchase critical medications and supplies whenever possible from the local suppliers. They also help to deliver the supplies quickly to the front lines despite the ever-present danger.

UMANA IL has sent over 300 tons of critical medications, medical equipment surgical devices, and 17 ambulances to Ukrainian hospitals in dire need located on the front lines. With the help of Rotary International, UMANA IL was able to purchase and deliver extremely important surgical equipment for wounded soldiers such as: craniotomy surgical devices, surgical tables, cautery machines, surgical lighting, portable ultrasound machines, surgical staplers and sterilization machines.  Furthermore, UMANA IL received special manufacture pricing to purchase military grade ventilators as well as    defibrillators similar to those used by the US military. These ventilators were custom made for UMANA IL, and are currently serving 3 different military hospitals. UMANA IL receives photos and messages daily, documenting the many lives this equipment has saved. Almost weekly, suitcases full of IV antibiotics, suture material, bandages, tourniquets, Quick Clot and other front-line essentials are sent via commercial airlines. Approximately 600 suitcases have been sent to date.

About 300 external fixators used in severe orthopedic traumatic injuries have been supplied to front line hospitals; some were sent from the USA and others were manufactured in Ukraine. In such a way, UMANA IL not only helps hospitals but also supports the economy of Ukraine. It is very important to keep businesses alive during such horrific times.

It is important to understand that the Ukrainian healthcare system was not ready for a full-scale invasion. Most hospitals are working with equipment dating back to Soviet times. According to our sources, hospitals at the front receive between 40-80 injured patients a day. Doctors are forced to operate despite constant bombings and shelling in basements with equipment that is not always reliable.  Hospitals in Western Ukraine, although not being shelled, are experiencing a huge influx of refugees from East with chronic conditions, pregnant women, and children who have survived the bombings. Many soldiers who have been stabilized but need further care have been transferred to the west.  Many hospitals are filled to capacity!

UMANA IL is grateful to everyone for their help and support. Each donation, small or large, helps us save lives. Unfortunately, the war is still going on; it has been 7 months and 2 weeks since the invasion. The influx of volunteers and donors has decreased   significantly.  However, the UMANA Illinois Medical Relief for Ukraine task force continues its work. We continue sending and purchasing medical equipment as well as critically needed supplies. Ukrainian soldiers are not stopping and neither will we!  Everyone has to hold down their own fort! Ours is the medical front!

We hope to encourage the readers to keep helping Ukraine.  Every little donation enables us to continue our mission to purchase critically needed medication and equipment to save lives of Ukrainians.

Glory to Ukraine!

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