When Shaun Hopkins discovered charities were having trouble getting supplies into war-torn Ukraine, he decided to take matters into his own hands.
- A Welsh man has set up a charity delivering medical supplies to Ukraine
- An American volunteer says the need for diagnostic equipment in Ukraine has increased dramatically
- An Adelaide company has supplied x-ray carts to be sent to Ukraine
Mr Hopkins, from Wales, makes the 22-hour drive from London to get the supplies on the ground.
He does this while living with a spinal condition.
“I have a disability – I use a wheelchair and crutches,” Mr Hopkins said.
“I’m not a fighter. But I can drive, I can organise and I can inspire.”
Mr Hopkins founded the UK for UA Foundation, which delivers humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
“My pain is nothing.”
He has since been able to use his expertise as an operations manager to provide logistical support, equipment and medicines to doctors, territorial defence and civilians in Ukraine.
Mr Hopkins’ mission has also recently expanded, with 19 convoys from Wales joining the effort.
“I think everyone needs to figure out what they can do and then do their best to help,” he said.
“We want more people to come forward and channel that energy into action rather than empathy.”
Volunteers have been preparing for war
Olena Stadnyuk is a volunteer at the American not-for-profit organisation Nova Ukraine, which has been planning its humanitarian program in the event of a Russian invasion for almost six years.
Ms Stadnyuk is a fourth-generational doctor and trained to become a qualified cardiologist in Ukraine.
Despite preparing for war since 2014, she still could not believe the scenes emerging from her home country.
“We heard Russia was moving armed forces to the border, but I don’t think anyone could believe that something like that could happen,” she said.
“We are all heartbroken right now, but we are trying to stay strong and we need everyone’s support to do that.”
With Nova Ukraine, Ms Stadnyuk has been using her expertise to help obtain diagnostic equipment “desperately needed” to help treat thousands of wounded civilians.
“The demand for medical care is now probably 50 or 100 times more than what it used to be and they still have the same number of diagnostic devices,” she said.
“I’ve heard stories of patients dying because they were not diagnosed on time or properly.”
But she knew they would need more than just ordinary medical supplies to help hospitals that are under constant threat from Russian missiles.
She decided to reach out to Adelaide-based technology company, Micro-X.
X-ray rovers ‘perfect’ for humanitarian aid
Micro-X chief engineer Anthony Skeats said when he heard Nova Ukraine was looking for diagnostic equipment specialised for war zones, he knew their x-ray rover was the perfect solution.
“It provides tier one hospital capable imaging and it weighs six times less than a conventional x-ray cart, so it’s really easy to deploy institutions where temporary hospitals have been set up and clinics,” Mr Skeets said.
Ms Stadnyuk purchased five of the drivable x-rays for a discount, which she said had made a huge difference to providing patient care.
“We’ve heard from doctors how great it is to have those devices there and it’s super-helpful in delivering imaging at the point of care,” she said.
“It’s definitely just saving life equipment right now.”
The nano-electronic rovers allow doctors to move x-rays to patients, rather than the other way around and come with a six-hour battery life.