By Kevin Deutsch
A Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School teacher is raising money to pay for life-saving medications for scores of Ukrainian war refugees displaced by Russia’s invasion.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s relentless campaign of bombings, air assaults, and ground attacks have forced hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians to flee to Poland, where humanitarian groups and citizens are struggling to help with the crisis, including the pharmacist family of Polish-born MSD teacher Dr. Ewa Danelczyk.
Danelczyk’s close relatives work at The Blue Pharmacy in Chelm, Poland, about 15 miles from the Ukrainian border. The pharmacy is “dedicated to helping refugees; however, their budget is limited as needs are endless,” said Danelczyk, who started a Facebook fundraiser to help pay for the war refugees’ drugs.
“These people are in need of daily medication [like] insulin, heart medication, cough syrup for kids, cold and flu medication, bandages, pain relief, antibiotics,” the biology and honors biology teacher said.
“I am from Poland…close to the Ukrainian border crossing. Some members of my close family are living in Chelm, which is the closest city to one of the crossing points for Ukrainians evacuating from their country,” said Danelczyk.
The refugees are mostly women and children “in need of immediate help, especially daily use medicine (that is very expensive in Poland), such as insulin, heart, cold, flu, pain medication, bandages, etc.,” she said.
“My family [is] helping refugees with all they can, but yesterday, I received a message with a request for…donations that can cover the cost of medicine they give out to refugees daily. I made my private donation yesterday, but then I decided to set up a Facebook fundraiser, thinking that I can reach out to more people and raise money [to pay] for humanitarian help for Ukrainians.”
“From messages that I am receiving, I know that women and children are waiting 30 hours or more at the border to be processed on the Ukrainian side,” Danelczyk said. “They come to Poland exhausted, hungry, sick, and hopeless. Polish people are helping refugees [get] acclimated, housed, fed, properly medicated, etc.”
“Remember, it is wintertime in this part of Europe, so the conditions in which they are traveling (often on feet or train) are harsh.”
As of Thursday afternoon, Danelczyk’s Facebook campaign had raised $750 toward its $1,000 goal, with 18 donors contributing. Among them was MSD astronomy teacher Kyle Jeter.
“If I collect more… then it will be great,” said Danelczyk.
“Every amount is helpful.”
Russia in recent days has ramped up its attacks on key Ukrainian cities, assaults that have destroyed historically significant sites and killed civilians, leading the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into Putin’s invasion.
According to the United Nations, at least one million refugees have fled Ukraine during the past week.
Donors can contribute to Danelczyk’s campaign by visiting her fundraiser page.
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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