Newsletter #29: Urgent Call To Action

Yesterday, another morning waking up to horrific news of deadly russian attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, and today, another opportunity to help Ukraine win.  Make no mistake, this unprecedented attack wasn’t about revenge for the bridge connecting russia to occupied Crimea.  Monday’s 84+ missiles were designed to keep Ukrainians cold for the winter ahead.  Razom has been delivering aid for winter preparedness over the past couple of weeks already, but we need your help now to scale that work.  Below, several ways you can help Ukraine today.

Dear Razom Community,

Although by no means are any of Monday’s events new to Ukrainians, the scale of the attack, across every major corner of Ukraine, was unprecedented since the invasion on February 24th.  Air raid sirens in every region of Ukraine lasted for more than five hours.  Every day, russian terrorism gets more and more aggressive, more and more inhuman.  After yesterday, over 100 civilians have died, more have been injured, and major cities across Ukraine have lost water and electricity.  

But Ukrainians are not afraid.  They, we, have been preparing for this and fighting  this for a long time.  Razom continues to work to deliver aid, advocate for Ukraine, and engage people around the world to donate money and time.  You can help us in this, and every time you do, Ukraine and everything that it stands for, gets closer to victory.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. DONATE – Help power-up Ukraine by donating to Razom’s fundraiser (on facebook or on Evergreen) to deliver generators and power banks to Ukrainian first responders and defenders so that they can carry out rescue operations and save lives.  In the last few weeks, we’ve focused our efforts on winter preparedness, delivering generators and even Ukraine-made wood burning stoves (over 30 of them have already made it into the hands of the end users!).  But now what they need most are supplies that will keep the lights on after yesterday’s attacks.  The goal of this campaign is to raise $100,000 to purchase portable heat and power sources and deliver them to places where Ukrainians need them most.  Since February 24th, Razom has made over 2,000 deliveries of critical aid to end users on the front lines of saving lives in Ukraine.  Your donations will help us to continue to scale the massive work we have at hand. 
  2. ADVOCATE – Write and call to your elected officials to declare Russia a State Sponsor of Terrorism.  Here’s a link to how to do that for your US Senators and Members of Congress.  
  3. SHARE – Pass on this message, this newsletter, to your friends and family, your workplace, and your local community to raise awareness about how others can support Ukraine and help save lives in the process. 

Razom has been working on Aid, Advocacy, and Fundraising for Ukraine since day one, and we will continue to do all of those things.  Your support is vital to our meeting the needs of Ukrainians on the ground.  Below are two recent stories of initiatives that would not have been made possible without your donations.

During September 16-24th, Razom, in partnership with INgenius (a platform for developing medicine and science in Ukraine), facilitated a medical mission for a group of 11 experienced plastic surgeons and nurses from the US and the AAFPRS (American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery) to deliver 40 advanced reconstructive surgeries and corrective plastic procedures to 31 patients who suffered as a result of russia’s war on Ukraine – completely free of charge.  The group brought $325,000 in medical supplies (including custom designed implants) and donated around $300,000 in value of surgeries.  Some procedures lasted as long as 10 hours.  We were touched, shaken, and horrified by the patients’ stories.  They came from places like Bucha, Izyum, Kherson, Chernihiv, Sumy, places with documented atrocities and war crimes, and with wounds and burns from shelling, mine explosions, direct gunshots, and artillery fire.  For many of these patients, fixing the scars on their faces may be the last step in their arduous medical journeys, something that brings closure, helps heal and return to society.  Psychological rehabilitation is an important factor in recovery and reintegration, so we brought therapists from our Razom z Toboyu program in Ivano-Frankivsk for onsite support.

In the spirit of collaboration and learning, American and Ukrainian colleagues worked side by side at the medical facility of Ivano Frankivsk Oblast Hospital.  This special Ukrainian medical mission was called “Face to Face” and is undoubtedly only the beginning of a fruitful and life-saving cooperation between Ukrainian and American doctors and surgeons.  Over 130 Ukrainian medical professionals watched the masterful work of their American colleagues and Ivano-Frankivsk doctors in-person and online (in real-time) to learn the procedures.  Currently most plastic and reconstructive procedures are not available in public hospitals, and patients have to turn to either high cost private clinics or, for the military, wait for their turn in military hospitals which are overwhelmed with wound and trauma patients.  Our solution is to work with Ukrainian doctors and policy makers on education and popularization of plastic and reconstructive procedures and advocating for free plastic and reconstructive surgery for the victims of war.

The American doctors were impressed by the courage and patience of the Ukrainians they operated on.  In six months, they plan to return to continue the work of the medical mission and help more people.

In light of yesterday’s events, we also want to spotlight the work of one of our grantees from the Razom Grants project, the Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital (PFVMH), a Ukrainian NGO of civilian healthcare professionals saving lives by treating and evacuating injured Ukrainian people on the frontline of the war in Ukraine.  In September alone, PFVMH medical professionals treated almost 1,200 people.  Over 800 patients had severe war injuries, and 6 of them didn’t make it.

Vsevolod Stebliuk, PFVMH Medical Director, says there are no “easy cases.”  Every day, there are wounded people that PFVMH angels bring back from the dead.  Even when their hearts stop, the doctors fight for their lives, often resuscitating patients 3-4 times.  A 99.5% success rate during wartime… truly is a miracle.  That’s why they were nicknamed “Angels in Scrubs” by the Ukrainian public.

The level of professionalism among the volunteer doctors is unprecedented.  That’s why the importance of top-grade medical equipment and continuous aid cannot be overvalued.  High-quality tactical medicine kits, surgical instruments, external fixation devices, anesthesia breathing systems, and even fuel for evacuations and transportation are all key elements that give Ukrainian people a chance to survive.  Razom has an ongoing fundraiser to aid the current needs of Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital.  To support and help them save even more lives, join our Facebook Fundraiser or visit RAZOM x PFVMH – the donation buttons are at the bottom of the page.  You can also visit their official website.

Thank you so much for reading this newsletter, sharing it, generously donating to many of our important projects, and for showing your support of Ukraine.  We are immensely grateful.

Stay razom.

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