Força Ukraine Update- Committed to Going Back: June 16, 2024

Dear friends –

“We have some exciting news – in fact, lots of exciting news. The team has committed to returning to Ukraine in September to continue to do what we can to fill the existing gaps in advanced pre-hospital medical training. As someone who cares about and follows Ukraine, I know you are aware of the state of the conflict and that the needs for what this team does are as high as ever. We recently heard from a medic we trained in July 2023 who told us that his team started with 109 and they are now down to 25 – that he had personally witnessed the deaths of several teammates because they did not have the appropriate equipment to stop what were otherwise preventable deaths. These men and women are doing all they can, often in situations like this against overwhelming odds, ill-equipped, and in some cases, under-trained. The call is clear – it is incumbent on us, people who have the skills to teach and provide the right equipment – to keep doing all we can. With that in mind, and knowing what a critical skill whole blood administration is, we will be returning with Walking Blood Bank being one of the main focuses of what we will be doing. We have already had a number of specific requests for our training from people we have either trained before, or who have heard from others about the quality of the training.

While that news is somber – we wish there was no need for anything that we teach – we also have some excellent news to share. Recently, all of our Ukraine team was here in the US. I was able to see Yuliia at the Special Operations Medical Association conference, where she not only got the chance to participate in the conference, but be part of several incredible presentations about Ukraine from the main stage in one of the biggest audiences in our field. The rest of the team spent several weeks through the auspices of another organization in Boston with a team of Ukrainian doctors as part of a trauma fellowship. Most importantly for us, those team members were able to extend their trip and come out to Colorado. We had the chance to go up into Rocky Mountain National Park, go to a Rockies game (where they actually won), eat hotdogs, throw footballs, and generally just enjoy being together. It culminated with a cookout at Finch’s home, where we continued to establish family connections, and for anyone who was there, I think the closeness and care we share as a team was evident.

In team news, we are also excited to announce that Susanna will be joining us in September. Susanna is an amazing teammate and provider – a doctor who works in one of Kharkiv’s main hospitals. Susanna is fluent in both Ukrainian and English, and we had the chance to sponsor her attendance at a very high level trauma course through our friends at Ethos. She embedded with us for a week in March and she is a trusted teammate and an excellent trainer. She is the future of Ukrainian medicine, and we could not be more thrilled to have her. We will also be adding a videographer for part of this trip, who is volunteering his time and resources so that we can play a small part in continuing to tell the story in Ukraine.

Finally, Steve and Viktoriia will be coming to the US in about ten days on a speaking and fundraising tour. While we had hoped by this point to have a consistent funding stream, money for Ukraine is increasingly hard to come by. It remains the primary impediment to us being in Ukraine on a more recurrent basis. I know that Steve and Vik will do an incredible job telling the story of Ukraine, and once I have their itinerary, I will share it here in case you have a chance to go hear their incredible stories.

As always, I am so grateful for your support – it has been what has made everything that we do possible. I have attached some pictures of our amazing team during our time together here in the US. They are some of the best people I know and I am so fortunate to have the chance to work with them – but more importantly, to call each of them a friend.

With my sincerest gratitude for everything you have done for this team – Mike “

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