By: Michelle Poirier
The Georgina Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic is helping to package and distribute medical supplies to a hospital in Ukraine.
A Ukrainian-born Town employee, Olga Lawton, has been raising money on GoFundMe to purchase and send the much-needed medical aid.
And with the help of GNPLC Clinic Director Beth Cowper-Fung and her staff, the first order was received, packaged and shipped out on April 5.
“This is an unjust war, where a lot of families were destroyed, kids were left orphans, many lives were lost, and the country is in urgent need of medical aid,” said Lawton, who is a professional project manager in the Town’s CAO office.
The GoFundMe has a current goal of $10,000 after reaching its initial goal of $5,000 in four days, with donations from Lawton’s friends and colleagues, including Georgina Council and Town staff.
According to Lawton’s GoFundMe page, funds donated will purchase medical supplies and medications for the Vinnytsia City Clinical Emergency Hospital, located southwest of Kyiv, near the Romanian Moldovan border.
Vinnytsia serves as one of the centralized hubs for medical hospitals and refugee support in Ukraine.
Some of the medical aid was donated by local businesses in Georgina.
Lawton said Michael Ramzy, owner of Sutton Apothecary, donated over $1,000 worth of medications. They also received donations of disinfecting supplies from Kirsty King, Executive Director of the Learning Centre for Georgina.
Lawton is determined to keep raising funds through her GoFundMe page because the war has touched her personally.
“My entire family, childhood friends and former co-workers were impacted by the brutal invasion. Many of my family members were in Kyiv, including my only brother, who was in Irpin, with his wife and two young kids,” Lawton said.
“I felt the need to continue helping those impacted by the tragedy as much as I could. So, I got connected with a major medical hub in my hometown. They were in desperate need of medical supplies for treating wounded people and those who were fleeing the country.”
Lawton said she was introduced to Cowper-Fung by Fire Chief Ron Jenkins, and Cowper-Fung and her team agreed to help by ordering the supplies requested by the Ukrainian hospital.
Cowper-Fung said the basic sterile kits they ordered come with tools, drapes and gauze, but they added suture threads, needles, gloves, cleaning swabs, tape and dressings to the kit.
“It is fully ready to use. A trained nurse, doctor or army medic could take this kit and sew up wounds that do not need internal dissolving stitches,” she said.
Cowper-Fung was formerly a Canadian Armed Forces Reserve Medic, and she used her past field experience to put the kits together.
“Donations have entirely funded it, so we will keep getting stuff as long as Olga keeps getting money,” she said.
Cowper-Fung said the hospital in Ukraine would like a defibrillator, but the only one they can find is $13,000. Since that is currently out of their budget, they are working on getting them an automated external defibrillator (AED) with replaceable pads, which is less expensive.
As of publication, the GoFundMe page has raised $7,650. Lawton said she would continue raising money even if they reached the current goal.
You can donate at https://gofund.me/1c743333.
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