St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital welcomed four Ukrainian children with cancer along with their families this week at their hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. According to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the patients and their families were brought to the United States from Poland aboard a U.S. government-operated medical transport aircraft. As families have had to abruptly leave their homeland in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, these families had particular concerns about the medical treatment needed by the children, but now no longer need to worry that they will continue to receive the care they need.
According to a statement from St. Jude President and CEO James R. Downing, “The work of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Ukraine reflects the hospital’s ongoing commitment to ensure children with cancer have access to lifesaving care, no matter where they live,” adding that “our promise to children with catastrophic diseases extends around the globe, and we are honored to play a part in helping these families move to safety to continue their children’s treatment.”
St. Jude shared that “soon after Russia invaded Ukraine, St. Jude Global—a program designed to improve survival rates of children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases worldwide—launched a humanitarian effort, called SAFER Ukraine (Supporting Action For Emergency Response).” At this point, SAFER Ukraine has provided assistance to over 600 patients who were transported to the “best cancer centers in Europe, Canada, and now, the U.S.” Though they try to keep the families close to home, “factors such as decreased clinical space availability and advanced patient medical needs can require sending children farther from home.”
With an understood sense of urgency, St. Jude Children’s Research hospital remains committed to supporting patients and their families as they deal with the trauma of fleeing their homeland and uncertainty of what lies ahead. Upon evaluating the needs of patients and their families, St. Jude is helping them settle into its housing facilities, and is providing “trauma-informed psychosocial therapy to address psychological, social, emotional and cultural needs.” St. Jude educators are even developing a school curriculum for the patients and their young family members.
Compassionate hearts have no boundaries, and the dedicated team at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is stopping at nothing to ensure patients and their families continue to receive the best care possible. As war became a threat to these children’s future, SAFER Ukraine was immediately developed as teams began organizing the translation of medical records, coordinating departure travel, and managing logistics. With over 20 countries offering to welcome the patients from Ukraine, humanity has once again shown its strength and shined its light over the darkness.