Força Ukraine Update- If not us, then who? January 19th, 2024

All –

I realize that some time has passed since our last update – but we have been far from idle! I wanted to update you on where we stand going into March. I want to share it with you as you have supported us in the past and allowed us to do truly lifesaving work in Ukraine – we hear regularly from individuals we trained about how the training and equipment, made possible through your generosity, allowed them to save a friend, a team member, a person from their community. I also wanted to say, before this goes too long, that if you do not want to receive these updates as we go into the next mission and beyond, just let me know. Without further ado, here are the updates!

Mission

  • As it stands right now, we will be launching our next Ukraine trip on 29 FEB to cover the month of March. We just rounded out our team yesterday with the addition of our new interpreter Yulia. Yulia comes highly recommended and has worked with some of our team in the past. We are so excited to have her for this one! The mission profile and intent will match our July trip – we remain committed to both providing advanced pre-hospital trauma training to Ukrainian front-line providers, and donating high end medical supplies, most of which will be purchased in-country. The team is excited for this mission, and is well prepared to keep providing this critical training. For security reasons, we will not be sharing the proposed locations except internal to the team and then after we are safely through. Sadly, we will be arriving as Ukraine enters the third year of war (24 FEB 2022). In the US, there is disagreement about continuing to fund Ukraine, in Ukraine, the reality is much more stark. We have seen a recent uptick in missile and drone attacks against urban centers across the country. Pre-hospital providers are seeing the same wounds of war as frontline medics. The needs for advanced pre-hospital trauma training remain as high as ever. On a personal note, March 2024 – the month we will be in-country – also marks 20 years since I got on a C-130 in Manas, Kyrgyzstan and landed in Bagram, Afghanistan for the first time. I went into that thinking I would be one and done – check the block on deployments, have some cool stories. Twenty years, and many more than one deployment later, I certainly have some stories – but none have been more personally and professionally meaningful than the ones I have from Ukraine. To get to return with this incredibly special team and to continue to do this work – it’s hard to express what that means. Thank you for making it a reality.

Funding

  • we recently received a major donation from a foundation who wishes to remain anonymous. To say I cried when I got the call is not hyperbole. We know at Forca we are small and do not have that name recognition (yet). That anyone believes in us and our mission still catches me off guard – it is humbling and only further reinforces our commitment back to you to be transparent and good stewards of your trust. This donation almost single handedly funds our training and equipment costs. It also means that everything else we get from here will go directly to supplying even more medical equipment.
  • we have made some exciting new partnerships with organizations in the United States who have heard of our work and will be doing some fundraising for us – again, with every single dollar going directly to training and equipment. Thank you Volia!
  • we are receiving an equipment donation of advanced trauma training equipment with an estimated value of $15,000.
  • Dr. Steve, my dear friend, our ER doctor teammate was able to get about $15,000 in donated medical equipment from a warehouse in Cleveland that we will be carrying with us for training and donation.
  • we are partnering with an organization called Ethos, who is conducting research in Ukraine on trauma medicine and how we can improve our understanding of interventions in austere conditions. We are also working with them to sponsor two Ukrainian providers to attend a week-long trauma symposium in Italy, where they will receive additional advanced training.

As I said today in a phone call, our team is so incredibly fortunate to be able to return to Ukraine to do this work. While we may be the ones on the ground, none of this is possible without your support. There truly is a direct line between you through us, to Ukrainians on the ground who are using the skills and equipment you enable to save lives. I am so incredibly grateful to you, to the team, and for this opportunity. There will be more updates as we prepare to depart, and then as we move through country, as we did in July 2023. On behalf of the whole team, my sincerest thanks and deepest gratitude.

Thank you – Mike

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