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Victoria-based charity to help children's hospital in Ukraine

Hospital asked for help and Victoria group is responding
Displaced Ukrainians take shelter in an auditorium in Lviv, western Ukraine, Wednesday, March 2, 2022. AP Photo/Bernat Armangue

A Victoria-based humanitarian-aid group is sending pediatric medication to a hospital in Ukraine to help the youngest victims of the Russian invasion.

Dr. Bridget Stirling, ­president of ICROSS Canada, said the Western Ukrainian ­Specialized Children’s Medical Centre in Lviv reached out to her ­organization, desperate for ­medication and medical supplies.

In the past two weeks, ­hundreds of thousands of ­people from elsewhere in Ukraine have fled to Lviv to escape the ­Russian invasion of their ­country. Displaced families and their seriously ill children — some in the middle of cancer treatments — are finding their way to the hospital. “It’s atrocious. It’s absolutely atrocious,” Stirling said ­Wednesday.

“You think the world has been through enough in the last couple of years. To think these families have to deal with this kind of thing is terrible.”

ICROSS, which has a history of setting up medical facilities for refugees, is working with Health Partners International Canada, a national organization that procures pharmaceuticals from drug companies.

“We’ve used them lots of times to send medication to different places,” said Stirling.

The medications will go directly from Toronto to partners in Warsaw, who will take it across the border into Ukraine.

Glad Tidings Church donated $6,000 to buy the medications. Because ICROSS can buy the medications for 10 cents on the dollar, the children’s hospital will receive $60,000 worth of medication from the donation, said Stirling.

ICROSS has also partnered with Victoria’s Compassionate Resource Warehouse to gather supplies and send them in a shipping container to the pediatric hospital.

“They’ve asked for tourniquets, but also for really specific things like H&H tension pneumothorax needles, suture materials. They literally give you the brand,” said Stirling. “They also need medical backpacks and thermal blankets. It will take a few weeks but they will get them.”

The public can help by ­donating diapers, toothbrushes, toothpaste, socks, and soap to Compassionate Resource Warehouse (

Stirling, who lived in Libya during its civil war 10 years ago, said she has walked across No Man’s Land with her children, now ages 14 and 16.

“Because we’ve been involved in so many different relief efforts, when [the Russian invasion] started, I said to my kids: ‘We’re not going to watch the news this time around.’ I think news can actually be very depressing for children.”

Within minutes, she received the email from the children’s hospital in Ukraine. Now Stirling tells her children not to focus on Russia, but to focus on what they can do to help the situation.

It’s the same message she’s given to Camosun College nursing students who have been collecting socks and toothbrushes for the container being sent to Ukraine.

“It’s easy for kind-hearted and good-hearted people to become overwhelmed by the negative and freeze. It’s good if you can focus on doing something positive and helping. That’s a good way to move through it.”

For more details, or to donate, go to

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