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B.C. paramedics in Poland preparing to deliver ambulances, supplies to Ukraine

Two first responders from Vancouver Island are now in Poland getting ready to deliver much-needed medical equipment to front-line workers in Ukraine.

Advanced care paramedics Melissa Sims and Andrew Mills of Victoria started out fundraising to buy one used ambulance to help medical efforts in Ukraine. Now, thanks to an outpouring of donations, they’ll be able to provide even more help.

"We’ve managed to secure the funds to purchase three ambulances,” Sims said Tuesday morning from Warsaw, and added they’re also planning on "phase 2," which will involve providing critically needed medication and equipment. "People can’t get their blood pressure medications. They’re running out of insulin…things like portable ventilators, we’ve had requests for cardiac monitors, portable ultrasounds."

Mills said the ambulances they deliver this week will also come with supplies.

"We've been working in coordination with a couple other paramedics on the ground here," he said. "So we’ve managed to collaborate and join forces and they’ve secured tens of thousands of dollars of high quality trauma and medical supplies…in addition, we’ve taken some supplies from Canada that we’ve stocked the ambulances with and so the ambulances will be sent into Ukraine service-ready."

The supplies and ambulances are headed for the Pirogov First volunteer mobile hospital in Ukraine.

Last month, the World Health Organization warned of an increase in attacks on Ukrainian hospitals, ambulances and other health care facilities.

"To see that as paramedics ourselves is quite difficult to witness," Mills said. “I can definitely say that we have a tough job on a day-to-day basis as paramedics but nothing compares to what the situation must be for our colleagues in Ukraine right now and everyday people."

The deliveries are planned for later this week at an undisclosed location in the border region.

"The whole experience has been very humbling and awe-inspiring," Sims said. "We’re just happy to be able to help, really."

Mills added the whole initiative has come together quickly.

"We’re essentially only in the country for less than a week and we’ve got really three or four days to make all this happen,” he said. “But so far, we're on track, thanks to the countless number of people that have helped us along the way." Top Stories


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