Ukrainian refugees have access to life-saving dialysis thanks to British donations


A retired transplant coordinator started the fundraiser, which has raised almost £13,000, after worrying about families fleeing the country

Alisa Schulga
Alisa Shulga’s father Maxim received dialysis thanks to the fund

Big-hearted Brits have raised almost £13,000 to help critically ill Ukrainian refugees in the transplant registry access life-saving dialysis and medicines.

Lynne Holt, a retired transplant coordinator at Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, started the fundraiser after worrying about families in need of dialysis fleeing the torn country.

Her supporters include Britain’s first-ever heart transplant baby, Kaylee Davidson-Olley, and her mother Carol, who says every penny goes to “transplant patients fleeing war”.

Lynne’s fundraiser has helped more than 15 families so far, mainly in Romania, after she began working with the European Transplant and Dialysis Federation and the wider transplant community to provide refugees with access to medicines, dialysis, shelter, transport, phone cards, food and clothing to facilitate.

The donations have helped 36-year-old Elena Bucaci, who arrived in Poznan, Poland, “scared and very tired” with a place to stay and dialysis. She also managed to book flights to Romania to reach friends there.

They also helped 28-year-old Maxim Shulga, who came to Poland with his six-year-old daughter Alisa.

Alisa proudly made a sign saying “thank you” to Lynne and her colleagues after her father managed to get access to dialysis.

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Alisa, six, thanked the team who helped her father

The team also helped a man who had to cross the Danube and queued for 10 hours to get to Romania before returning to Ukraine and then crossing the border into Poland without access to dialysis or medication the whole time .

Donations from the UK have helped a mother of five awaiting a lung transplant in Lviv, western Ukraine, whose husband is fighting in the war. Within 14 hours she arrived in Poland at the Silesian Center for Heart Diseases in Zabrze and was dialyzed overnight.

They also provided access to dialysis for 55-year-old Eleni Salyupa, who had traveled to the Black Sea with her daughter.

Kaylee Davidson-Olley, Britain’s first-ever heart transplant baby, and her mother Carol have supported the campaign



And a wheelchair-bound woman on oxygen who traveled 1,300km overnight to Poland finally received dialysis thanks to the fund.

Meanwhile, a lung transplant patient arrived in Romania in need of a life-saving drug that isn’t approved in the country – but through Lynne’s network she managed to access and pay for her medicines from a Portuguese shipment, and the pharmaceutical company is now considering doing so to dispense medication. Humanitarian license.

Eleni Saljupa and her daughter traveled to the Black Sea

Lynne said: “I was so moved by the stories from Ukraine that I knew I had to use my expertise to help in any way.

“These stories are just a tiny snapshot of the tragedy of war, but hopefully this can help some of the most sick and vulnerable in some way.

“You can’t imagine what these people have been through and the journeys they’ve had to make – when you’re sick and ill and you don’t know when the next time you’re going to get the treatment you need, it’s unbearable.

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“None of us sitting in our warm homes eating good food can imagine what these families are going through, nor can the transplant community imagine being without transplant care, medication and dialysis.”

Amali Teodorescu, a volunteer at the Romanian Transplant Society, said: “This solidarity warms my soul and gives me energy for my work to help refugees. “Refugees keep coming and many stay in our countries. They need shelter, food, medical care, medicine and much more.”

Click here to learn more or to support the campaign here.

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