Last week two important moments occurred in the history of Ukraine: one of great joy and another of immense sadness. August 24, our Ukrainian friends celebrate their largest State holiday in commemoration of the Declaration of Independence of 1991. Unfortunately, it also marks 6 months of war including pain, death, trauma, uncertainty and fear. This war has caused unbelievable harm and destruction to our Ukrainian friends.
On that same day, six months ago, when this horrible war disrupted the lives of all Ukrainians, our incredible work that soon became known as SAFER Ukraine began. In the hours following the invasion, a small group immediately started organising the evacuation of the first patient to Poland. Within days, this small group grew to a powerful and unified team of hundreds of volunteers and cooperative partners around the world.
Among those partners are the members of CCI Europe. Indeed, our extraordinary community of survivors, parents and patients’ representatives did not hesitate to come to the aid of the traumatised young Ukrainian patients and their families as quickly and as efficiently as possible. CCI-E members play an invaluable role in many psychosocial aspects, ensuring safe transport collaboration, welcoming Ukrainian patients and their families in their country, identifying their needs and offering a presence.
With everyone’s incredible support and cooperation, over 1,200 pediatric oncology and hematology patients and their families have been helped and supported. And there are still more to come as unfortunately the war is still ongoing.
Within the CCI Europe team, we quickly set up a task force to coordinate operations within Safer Ukraine and to liaise with our members. This is also how the Ukrainian Childhood Cancer Emergency Fund was set up and the first donations came in.
SAFER Ukraine is an example that even the worst crimes can be countered with humanity and hope. This initiative is a sign of how much good can be achieved when people work together across borders for a shared goal. Each person who has contributed to SAFER Ukraine over the past six months has played an invaluable role, no matter how big or small. As our CCI-E chair Anita Kienesberger said: “Such an immediate response can only be possible with a committed, dedicated and very well organized community. Together we are so much stronger.”
With the continued help, we can give back a little bit of hope for a better future to our patients and their families.
It touches us every day to have such strong partners by our side, and we thank you from our hearts for all your support so far. We look forward to the day when we can all support our Ukrainian friends in the rebuilding of their country.