A retired transplant co-ordinator started the fundraiser, which raised almost £13,000, after worrying about families fleeing the country
Kind-hearted Britons have raised almost £13,000 to help critically ill Ukrainian refugees on the transplant register gain access to dialysis and life-saving medicine.
Lynne Holt, a retired transplant coordinator at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, started the fundraiser after worrying about families in desperate need of dialysis fleeing the torn country.
Among his supporters are Kaylee Davidson-Olley, Britain’s first-ever baby to have a heart transplant, and her mother Carol, who says every penny helps “transplant patients fleeing war”.
Lynne’s fundraising has helped over 15 families so far, mostly in Romania, after she began working with the European Transplant and Dialysis Federation and the wider transplant community to help refugees. access to medication, dialysis, housing, transportation, phone cards, food and clothing.
The donations helped Elena Bucaci, 36, who arrived “scared and very tired” in Poznan, Poland, to get housing and dialysis. She also managed to book flights to Romania to join friends there.
They also helped Maxim Shulga, 28, who arrived in Poland with his 6-year-old daughter Alisa.
Alisa proudly held up a sign saying “thank you” to Lynne and her colleagues after her father was able to gain access to dialysis.
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The team also helped a man who had to cross the Danube and queue for ten hours to enter Romania, before returning to Ukraine and then crossing the border into Poland, without access to dialysis or medicine the whole time.
UK donations have helped a mother of five awaiting a lung transplant in Lviv, western Ukraine, whose husband is fighting in the war. Within 14 hours, she arrived in Poland at the Silesian Heart Disease Center in Zabrze and received dialysis overnight.
They also helped Eleni Salyupa, 55, who traveled to the Black Sea with her daughter, to access dialysis.
And a woman in a wheelchair in need of oxygen, who traveled 1,300 km overnight to Poland, finally received dialysis thanks to the fund.
Meanwhile, a lung transplant patient has arrived in Romania, in need of a life-saving drug not authorized in the country – but thanks to Lynne’s network, she managed to access and pay for her drugs from a Portuguese shipment and the pharmaceutical company is now considering supplying the drug. license for humanitarian reasons.
Lynne said: “I was so moved by the stories from Ukraine that I knew I had to use my expertise to help in some way.
“These stories are just a small glimpse into the tragedy of war, but I hope it can somehow help some of the sickest and most vulnerable people.
“You can’t imagine what these people have been through and the journeys they’ve had to make – when you’re sick and sick, not knowing when you’ll get the treatment you need next, it’s unbearable.
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“None of us sitting in our warm homes eating good food can imagine what these families are going through, nor can the transplant community imagine being without transplant care, medication and dialysis.”
Amali Teodorescu, a volunteer with the Romanian Transplantation Association, said: “This solidarity warms my soul and gives me energy in my work to help refugees. “Refugees continue to arrive and many remain in our countries. They need housing, food, medical care, medicine and much more.”
To find out more or to support the campaign, click here.