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Okanagan group purchases fully equipped ambulance for Ukraine

The ambulance parked in Uzshgorod, Ukraine. Svitlana Shkyn / Submitted

A fully equipped ambulance has arrived in Ukraine, thanks to the fundraising efforts of Okanagan residents.

The ambulance arrived in Uzshgorod city last week and is filled with medical supplies.

“We were able to finalize the purchase and then found a vehicle that was for $18,000 plus extra expenses on transportation,” said Ukrainian Canadian Volunteer Association member Svitlana Shkyn.

Read more: Another Okanagan shipment heads to Ukraine as pleas for help continue

The Ukrainian Canadian Volunteer Association has been fundraising for Ukrainians since the war first began in February.

The association has held several fundraising events, including an Easter bake sale that raised close to $12,000.

“We raised over $5,000 from an online silent auction and then we had the bake sale at the Penticton Lakeside Resort. Then we attended a few little pop-up events that were towards Ukraine and we had our own table set up with souvenirs,” said Shkyn.

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“The goal was to raise money for an ambulance, but after the bake sale, obviously we raised enough money to purchase one.”

Click to play video: 'Easter bake sale in Penticton, B.C. raises more than $8,000 for Ukraine' Easter bake sale in Penticton, B.C. raises more than $8,000 for Ukraine
Easter bake sale in Penticton, B.C. raises more than $8,000 for Ukraine – Apr 18, 2022

The ambulance will be based in Bucha, which is located near Kyiv. Bucha is one of the hardest-hit communities and the ambulance will help transport people to Uzshgorod.

“Sometimes they’re going to be driving patients who are too hurt because they relocated some of their [medical] technologies into hospitals in Uzshgorod, because it is safer there,” said Shkyn.
“Originally, the goal was to buy an ambulance and transfer it to the hotspots. But [a doctor there] said this particular one is in such a good condition that is better to protect this ambulance.”
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Moving forward, Shkyn said the association still has a “huge list” of items that they are hoping to purchase and send to Ukraine.

Another fundraising event took place on Sunday in hopes of raising enough money for necessary medical supplies.

“The goal from [Sunday’s] fundraiser is actually to purchase medical tactical gear; those are very important in the hotspots. We have an inquiry for 50 of those so that will be close to $1,000,” said Shkyn.

“We had to put this event there urgently because there are a lot of injured people. We couldn’t even wait, we had no planning, we just had less than a week when I started doing the advertising.”

Click to play video: 'Ukrainian refugees, mother and daughter, arrive in the Okanagan' Ukrainian refugees, mother and daughter, arrive in the Okanagan
Ukrainian refugees, mother and daughter, arrive in the Okanagan – May 31, 2022

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