St. Jude Inspire | Audio Stories
SPECIAL REPORT: UKRAINE
The capital of brave people
When Russia invaded Ukraine, the people who run the Tabletochki Charitable Foundation got to safety and then got back to work. They knew many of the people they serve — Ukrainian kids with cancer — could no longer be treated in their home country.
When Russia invaded Ukraine, the people who run the Tabletochki Charitable Foundation got to safety and then got back to work. They knew many of the people they serve — Ukrainian kids with cancer — could no longer be treated in their home country. In partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and ALSAC, its fundraising and awareness organization, and their global partners, Tabletochki has helped ensure the continued care of more than 1,000 children. Hundreds have gone to hospitals throughout Europe and North America. Some are being treated at St. Jude in Memphis.
Olga Kudinenko and Svitlana Pugach tell us about the work of Tabletochki and their plans for the future, once the war is over.
On the ways Tabletochki appealed to Ukrainians in its early days
“The message was, let’s fight childhood cancer together. Let’s all be a part of a child’s victory. And that was absolutely new (in Ukraine) and inspiring and appealing for most people.”
On providing holistic care to pediatric cancer patients
“We (Tabletochki) have our own patient care programs, child life programs, psycho-social support, palliative care programs. Because children with cancer in Ukraine are treated in state hospitals, the doctor-patient communication culture is very conservative. Doctors are treating the body but not the person.”
On changing the medical culture for all Ukrainians
“In Ukraine, sometimes, basic human rights might be violated. In 2015, one of our patients was dying of cancer and he was alone in an intensive care unit. His parents were not allowed to visit him. We started a huge advocating campaign which took us two years to be successful. We called it open doors to ICUs. And we protected the rights of everyone in Ukraine not to be alone in ICUs. So close relatives could be near their loved ones in ICUs.”
On raising money to build a pediatric cancer hospital
“On the 15th of February this year, I received the first commitment for $20 million out of $65 (million) for the hospital. We were so happy. It was International Childhood Cancer Day. A week later, Russia invade Ukraine. So, this commitment is not available anymore. It was from a Ukrainian donor, a Ukrainian business, and all Ukrainian businesses are damaged and suffering right now. I don’t know how, but I do believe we will build it in Ukraine.”