USACS Delivers a Helping Hand to Ukrainian Relief Efforts Through the Paul Chester Children’s Hope Foundation
War. A one syllable word that holds an overwhelming amount of emotion and power. A word no one wants to hear yet so many know all too well. It’s been well over a year now of devastating headlines and news stories sharing the turmoil the Ukrainian community is experiencing from the war being waged on their country. As bystanders, we often feel defeated and unsure of how to make an impact from afar as the weight of the news piles on. The questions of, “What can I contribute from afar? How do I find a trustworthy organization to partner with? How can I make an impact? race through our minds. Where do we begin?
For the USACS community, these questions were answered thanks to board member, Angelo Falcone, MD, FACEP, through his connection to the Paul Chester Children’s Hope Foundation (PCCHF) and its co-founder, Dr. William Chester, MD. The Foundation was created in honor of Dr. Chester’s late son, Paul Chester, who aspired to help those in need. Serving families in developing countries, the PCCHF supports medical missions and provides highly specialized medical assistance to those who logistically or economically are unable to access the care otherwise.
As the war in Ukraine began, the PCCHF was contacted by the Ministry of Health in Lviv, Ukraine asking for medical supplies support. This hit home for the Foundation as its co-founder, Roxalana Kuzmat, and executive director of the board, Oksana Pidhoreckyj, are Ukrainian-American and have strong ties with their Ukrainian community abroad.
“Given that we have personnel on our team who felt deeply motivated to help their community and could provide reliable contacts in the country, there was no hesitation in taking action,” said Dr. Chester. “Our first contact was an endocrine surgeon running a hospital in Lviv who just so happened to be the cousin of our co-founder. This connection provided us with the ability to begin our efforts immediately and allowed for much easier access to ensuring supplies were distributed.”
Considering the PCCHF relies solely on fundraising and word of mouth to accomplish their efforts, it was critical to begin spreading the word and making connections. This is where Dr. Falcone’s connection to Dr. Chester came into play and provided what Dr. Chester believes was the catalyst for the success of the PCCHF’s ongoing efforts to support Ukraine.
“The USACS community immediately stepped up and provided us with nearly $200K in donations so we could begin purchasing the requested supplies to support the medical teams on the frontlines,” said Dr. Chester. “With these funds, we were able to purchase large amounts of medical hardware such as external fixators, wound vacs, emergency airway equipment, and fiberoptic scopes for airway traumas and also pay for the expedited transport of these supplies.”
Not only did donations from USACS team members help to purchase medical supplies and equipment, but they also provided a boost in word-of-mouth efforts. Word began to spread regarding the efforts taking place and the PCCHF gained a tremendous amount of support. Dr. Chester shared, “We really saw an increase in the amount of support following the initial push USACS helped us achieve. The reach was so expansive that we received an international corporate sponsor, and that would have never been possible without the help of USACS.”
Since beginning their efforts, the PCCHF has contributed approximately $45M worth of medical equipment, humanitarian aid, and supplies to the Ukrainian frontlines. Though demands have lessened as the height of the war has passed, the need for supplies continues.
“Just last week we sent out another round of supplies to our partners in Lviv,” noted Dr. Chester. “It is the grim reality of war that there will be ongoing needs for the foreseeable future to repair the damage that has been done and continues to be seen for the Ukrainian community. We intend to continue with our donations and efforts for as long as our means allow.”
As a community, we hope to make another profound impact that will allow for the PCCHF to continue their work. If you have the means and are able to make a donation, please consider supporting the PCCHF by donating here.
Dr. Chester has also encouraged any USACS clinician to reach out if they have an interest in volunteering with their medical mission work moving forward. There are hopes to have an onsite team in Ukraine in the future if the need arises.
On behalf of the PCCHF, Dr. Chester relays the following message.
“Thank you to every member of the USACS community for your contributions to our foundation and, in turn, the people of Ukraine. We wouldn’t be where we are today without you and sincerely look forward to a meaningful, ongoing partnership that fulfills both of our missions to their fullest potential.”