Medical supplies head to Ukraine from Rochester
The Rochester Medical and Relief Mission Group is coordinating with Ukrainian Health Ministry and relief groups to provide needed supplies.
ROCHESTER — The first of what will likely be many truckloads of medical supplies from the Rochester Medical and Relief Mission Group to Ukraine departed Friday afternoon.
Roman Kowalchuk, a native of Ukraine, scoured the Mission’s warehouse for items the Ukrainian Defense Ministry and Ukrainian hospitals specifically requested.
Kowalchuk has family in Ukraine who are as of Friday unharmed but determined to stay in the country, he said.
With heavy fighting and civilian casualties mounting across Ukraine since Russia invaded the country Feb. 24, it would be easy to assume anything and everything would help.
Kowalchuk said that’s not necessarily the case.
“We don’t want to inundate them with things they already have,” he said.
The lists call for surgical kits, hemostatics, which are drugs that help hemorrhaging, and anything else that helps stop bleeding. Oxygen is another important need, he added.
A volunteer helping pack pallets overheard Kowalchuk’s list and showed him an oxygen concentrator. Kowalchuk plugged the machine into a wall socket to confirm it works and prepared it for a truck arriving Friday afternoon to ship the supplies to Chicago.
From there, the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America will distribute the supplies directly to Ukrainian hospitals and the health ministry there.
The Rochester Medical and Relief Mission Group was founded more than 42 years ago. Leo Wagner, a co-founder, is 95 but was eager to give a quick tour of the Mission’s warehouse of medical supplies.
About 95% of the supplies are donated from Mayo Clinic. The group sends supplies around the world to where they’re needed as well as to local groups that help people in need of medical supplies, said Diane Wagner, who coordinates the group.
Kowalchuk, who is a radiation-oncology resident at Mayo Clinic said he learned about the group from a colleague who helped get medical supplies to Ghana.
The shipment that departed the warehouse Friday will likely be the first of many. People who wish to help with the effort can contact Rochester Medical and Relief Mission Group at 507-282-3634 or email Diage Wagner at email@example.com.