The Power in Your Hand

October 2, 2023

As you read this, somewhere in Ukraine, a US-made trailer truck outfitted with two medical exam rooms is pulling into a small village. Or shutting down for the night on the edge of a town after a long day of seeing patients.

Sheba Medical Center is working to help heal and treat women, boys and girls in Ukraine with a Mobile Women’s Health Clinic. This is the story of two of them.

Before the Russian invasion, 54-year-old Lyudmila lived in Mariupol with her 32-year-old daughter Svetlana. Their home was small, but warm and bright.

When Mariupol began to be bombed, they moved to the basement of their house. The city was constantly bombarded and the women stopped leaving the basement completely, only going upstairs occasionally to get water or some food.

Volunteers found them and took them out. They left the city under fire, and with difficulty reached an occupier checkpoint, where a car with a woman and two children was shot at before their eyes. They were lucky, they were released alive.

They were brought to a small village in the Baryshevsky district. All the neighboring villages had been occupied at some point, but this one was spared — the Russians never reached it.

Lyudmila and her daughter settled in an empty house – the owner had died and relatives offered it for refugees. They had shelter, but gripped by fear, they could not bring themselves to leave it for more than a year. So their neighbors, understanding the trauma, bring them food from the store and buy them medicine. They have no idea how their home is faring.

When word spread that the Sheba mobile clinic had arrived at the village, Lyudmila realized that it was an opportunity to check her health. When else might there be such an opportunity?

The women made an appointment and prepared for it for several days, persuading and encouraging each other. When the day came, they made up their minds to go and left the house for the first time in a year.

The examination found that Svetlana is healthy, but Lyudmila was referred for additional examination. Now a psychologist who collaborates with the Mobile Clinic is working with Lyudmila and Svetlana to assist them with their mental health.

The women thanked Sheba for their help in examination, treatment, and feeling even a little bit of normalcy.

This is all made possible by Sheba Medical Center, and the organizations Kvitna and Israeli Corridor for Ukraine.

It is also made possible by American donors.

Please take a moment now during these Days of Awe to reach your hand out to these women in Ukraine. Svetlana and Lyudmila are two of almost one thousand women who have been given a human touch and medical care. You can make it possible to keep the work going for thousands more. It costs only $20 per woman or girl for a screening appointment. Please donate now to help the Medical Center extend their lifesaving work to the women in Ukraine.

Published as a newsletter by American Friends of Sheba Medical Center, September 22, 2023

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