By Kevin Deutsch
A teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School raises funds to pay for lifesaving medicine for dozens of Ukrainian war refugees displaced by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s relentless campaign of bombings, airstrikes and ground attacks has forced hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians to flee to Poland, where aid groups and citizens are struggling to help deal with the crisis, including the pharmacist family of a Polish-born MSD professor. Dr. Ewa Danelczyk.
Danelczyk’s close relatives work at The Blue Pharmacy in Chelm, Poland, about 24 km from the Ukrainian border. The pharmacy is “dedicated to helping refugees; however, their budget is limited because the needs are endless,” said Danelczyk, who started a fundraiser on Facebook to help pay for medicine for war refugees.
“These people need daily medication [like] insulin, heart medicine, cough syrup for children, cold and flu medicine, bandages, painkillers, antibiotics,” the biology and biology professor said.
“I come from Poland…near the Ukrainian border. Some of my close family members live in Chelm, which is the closest town to one of the crossing points for Ukrainians evacuated from their country,” Danelczyk said.
The refugees are mostly women and children “in need of immediate help, especially daily medicines (very expensive in Poland), such as insulin, heart, colds, flu, painkillers, bandages, etc.,” she said.
“My family [is] help the refugees as best they can, but yesterday I received a message with a request for… donations that can cover the cost of the medicines they distribute to the refugees daily. I made my private donation yesterday but then decided to set up a facebook fundraiser thinking I could reach more people and raise money [to pay] for humanitarian aid to Ukrainians.
“From the messages I receive, I know that women and children wait 30 hours or more at the border to be processed on the Ukrainian side,” Danelczyk said. “They arrive in Poland exhausted, hungry, sick and desperate. Poles help refugees [get] acclimated, housed, fed, properly medicated, etc.
“Remember it’s winter in this part of Europe, so the conditions in which they travel (often on foot or by train) are difficult.”
On Thursday afternoon, Danelczyk’s Facebook campaign raised $750 toward its $1,000 goal, with contributions from 18 donors. Among them was MSD astronomy professor Kyle Jeter.
“If I collect more…then it will be awesome,” Danelczyk said.
“Every amount is useful.”
In recent days, Russia has intensified its attacks on key Ukrainian cities, assaults that have destroyed historically significant sites and killed civilians, leading the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into Putin’s invasion.
According to the United Nations, at least one million refugees have fled Ukraine in the past week.
Donors can contribute to Danelczyk’s campaign by visiting his fundraising page.
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Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime reporter and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on the staff of the Miami Herald, New York Daily News and Palm Beach Post.