We’re delighted and very proud to report that the Ukraine Future Team Mission 2 to that beleaguered country was another great success.
You can find out about the first mission by following the link to the previous DBF post at the bottom of this page. The purpose of this 2nd mission was again to deliver soft prosthetics to amputee patients currently rehabilitating in Ukraine. Many of these patients lost limbs defending their country and are depressed and frustrated at being unable to continue to actively support Ukraine. Even if they’ve healed from their amputations, prosthetics are very difficult to come by in a country under bombardment and which has faced so much destruction and devastation.
Another service the team has provided for the Ukrainian amputees on both missions was one-to-one discussion with a fellow amputee for advice and encouragement. Quadruple amputee, DBF Ambassador, Alex Lewis, accompanied the Team on their first trip and amputee veteran, Edward Hall, took his place in the Ukraine Future Team Mission 2. Edward Hall was able to speak with the authenticity of personal experience as well as the authority of working with so many charities supporting veterans in the UK. Both were able to talk to the patients and encourage them through their own examples that there is life after amputation, and to talk with first hand information about different prosthetics. Soft shell prosthetics, such as those supplied by Koalaa to huge benefit in the recent Limitless Campaign for children, are a new and innovative development and it is wonderful to see in the video accessible through the previous post how the Ukrainian amputees are instantly able to wear and use them. Nate, founder of Koalaa, was there to support the first fitting of a soft prosthetic at the ‘Unbroken’ National Rehabilitation Centre in Lviv. This must be a transformative experience for the Ukrainian amputees and the relief and hope for the future it must bring inestimable.
Edward Hall reported later that almost immediately after being fitted with their new prosthetic arms, the amputees were using them and one was even playing the guitar! He said that the memory of the smiles on their faces as they received them after so many occasions when hopes had been raised and then dashed would remain with him forever.
Between them, the team have a wealth of experience to draw on in their ambitions to help Ukraine having worked with organisations over the past 30 year to provide healthcare when people are overwhelmed by natural disaster, conflict or disease and are in need of immediate help. This included Bosnia during the siege of Sarajevo in 1993 and in the subsequent 20 years, they have gone on to support people in need in more than 50 countries.
Objectives of The Ukraine Future Team Mission 2
- Deliver field ambulance vehicle and a vehicle for wheelchair access/mobility (procured and delivered with the support of the Douglas Bader Foundation and other donors)
- Set up prosthetics fitting training session, with the support of Koalaa to ensure we have a system in place for individual patient follow-up and sustaining this programme
- Through the above understand the process for introducing other innovative products and services supporting amputees, and the feasibility of a Ukraine Project Limitless
- Soft Launch of amputee support network and knowledge exchange aiming for 1-3 international events https://www.lsngroup.org/amputee-support
a. The impact of early intervention in the rehabilitation journey
b. Encouraging Innovation – a case study in soft prosthetics and the challenge of above elbow amputations
c. Reskilling amputees: purpose, welfare and livelihoods – case studies from around the world https://www.lsngroup.org/post/re-finding-purpose-and-creating-opportunities-for-amputees
I cannot think of a time and place where the Bader story is more important to share than in present day Ukraine – Member of the Ukraine Future Team
Edward Hall, who accompanied The Ukraine Future Team on this mission, hands the keys of his late mother’s Mobility Vehicle to a happy Ukrainian representative outside the “Unbroken” National Rehabilitation Centre in Lviv. Mr. Hall feels that his mother would be proud to see her car’s new purpose. Especially when shortly after returning, the Team had a call to say that it had already been used to rescue an injured woman and her 2 children.
The dream of the Ukraine Future Team
The Team aims to help to build a more sustainable peace through the support of those injured by the war. This will obviously be a long journey but the Team feel satisfied that the first two missions have laid a foundation for this work.
“The beneficiaries may be children, adults, women and men. However, until there’s greater rehabilitation capacity in the country, we will be first directed to the military – the veterans, whose support is so important for the morale of those in the front line and the country as a whole.”
While both missions were successful and achieved their objectives wonderfully, there is no sense of “mission accomplished”. Further missions will follow to slowly build that much needed rehabilitation capacity and the team and its supporters are looking to create a longer term programme that can be scaled and sustained
“Ultimately our missions might add up to a new Ukrainian rehabilitation pathway established for and by limb different people, from their stabilisation in the frontline or moment of their accident to their complete rehabilitation in the community.
The missions might lead to a soft prosthetics fitting service accessible across the entire country, so long as Koalaa has sufficient capacity to supply and can provide support to the fitters, the patients and their families, just as they have sought to do with Project Limitless in the UK.
The missions might lead to a vocational training programme for amputees and this is something that Mike Wildeman and I are looking closely at during the next mission.
We can take a step towards these broader goals mission by mission, clinic by clinic, region by region. Our approach will evolve as we learn more on each mission.”
We are the ‘pathfinders’, as Leonard Cheshire would say about us when he lent his support to the fledgling Merlin. The Ukraine Future Team
DBF is very proud to support this courageous team in past and future missions to help people injured as they fought to defend their country in a war not of their making.
We are a global people and what hurts one hurts all. Equally, what helps one helps all and our thanks and respect to the Ukraine Future Team. We’re honoured to work with you.
We’ll be including blogs from some of the team members, which promise to be fascinating and inspiring reading, as well as more information and news of other support so please keep checking in.
Please take a look at the following video to get more of an idea of The Ukraine Future Team’s humanitarian ambitions.
Links: (will open in new tabs)
- Ukraine Future Team Mission 1
- LSN Group (Amputee Support)
- LSN Group (Refinding Purpose and Creating Opportunities for Amputees)
More news will follow shortly and you can expect updates and articles and from individual members of the team, which promise to make fascinating reading. Please keep checking in.