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Help came from all over the world

Story and photos: Lesyk Yakymchuk

Illustration: #DashaFilippova


Lesyk and his girlfriend, Lena, received an invitation to study and teach at Ohio University in the United States of America (USA) last year. The program in media communications was designed for three years, but immediately after the start of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, the couple decided to return to Ukraine. They understood that they would not be able to live in the USA as before. The homecoming looked like a road into the unknown at the end of February because it was unclear what was waiting for them at home. Furthermore, Lesyk would no longer be able to leave Ukraine because most men have been banned from leaving the country.

Before the couple left, friends from the USA packed a bag for Lesyk and Lena with medicines that might be needed during the war. At first, Lesyk thought that the bag would be like a drop in the ocean among all the humanitarian aid for Ukrainians. However, when he made a post on his Facebook page about tactical medicine, his phone was flooded with calls. It turned out that paramedics lacked such important things for emergency bleeding control as hemostatic agents or Israeli battle dressings. Seeing this, the couple continued to buy tactical medicine. However, in some instances, they also had to search for collimators, thermographic cameras, and walkie-talkies.

Aid came from all over the world. Once, a volunteer transported 60 bags of first-aid kits from New York by plane. Other volunteers met her in Warsaw and brought the cargo to the border with Ukraine. Lesyk even bought tourniquets in Brazil. Jokes that Ukrainians have bought up all the tourniquets in the world are not fully out of jest while Ukraine has about 700,000 people mobilized, every soldier must eventually have at least one first-aid kit and two tourniquets.

Ten volunteers work in the team together with Lesyk. As a communication expert, he understood that they needed a brand to raise funds, so Lesyk named their organization UA ​​First Aid. The president of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Serhiy Kvit, provided UA ​​First Aid with a place to work, so the volunteers currently work at Lesyk's alma mater.

Now, Lesyk doesn’t know whether he will return to the USA after the war. He says that his values ​​are changing and that he sees more prospects in Ukraine right now.


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