My name is Dr Igor Polivenok. I have been working with Chernobyl Children International for many years and I am now part of the front-line medical response to the war.
Here in Lviv the situation is very difficult. I am at a medical institution, where before the war you’d hear the typical working bustle, a hubbub of activity. Food deliveries, medical deliveries, fresh linens, journeys up to the seventh-floor operating theatres.
But today, less than 30% of the staff are here. Explosions can be heard in the distance, and you can’t tell how close it is. Those who have experienced frequent bombardment are not distracted by it, which gives me courage as well.
Even throughout the war, our medical teams have continued to operate on babies and children who have been born with severe congenital heart defects, including ‘Chernobyl Heart’, as a result of radiation.
These missions are essential. Because without surgery, these children will die.
And the missions have only been possible because people like you sponsored them. And I wanted to tell you, you’ve sponsored real bravery and determination, too. I have so much gratitude for my colleagues who have slept on the floor, worked in the basement because of explosions and plane attacks and crashes nearby, and operated without water, electricity, or sufficient supplies.
People tell us we’re mad to be there. But we will keep working as long as we have the funds.
And that’s where you come in.
Your support, and these CCI doctors’ determination – it’s a this Christmas, our medical team will do everything in our power to save children with fatal heart defects in Ukraine.
Now all they need is you.powerful combination.
Not only as a doctor, but also as a father – I want to ask you personally to please support this vital Christmas Cardiac Appeal if you can. Because there are still so many children who need us.
Too many families in the Chernobyl region know what it’s like to watch their new baby turn blue with the effort of trying to breathe…collapsing after walking just a few steps…facing multiple organ failure before their third birthday.
We are in a race against time. And parents in the region are terrified that we won’t come back because of the war.
But we will. If you will help us.
One mother, exhausted and terrified as her son underwent cardiac surgery, said to me: “There is no hope here. You bring us hope.”
Hearing these words, and seeing a bright and healthy flush come back to the cheeks of these young children, even a smile – it’s an indescribable feeling of joy. Even in the midst of war.
You make this possible. Because of you, these children can survive and thrive.
I promise you, hand on heart, that if you make this incredible gift, we will do everything we can for these children and families. I promise we will carry on working flat-out to help more children grow up and achieve what they dream of. I promise that more children will survive their Chernobyl Hearts.
But we desperately need your help – your heart. Their lives depend on it. We have these children’s hearts in our hands. And with your support, we will make a Christmas miracle happen for every single one of them.
My heart is full of gratitude for you.
With warmest regards,
Dr Igor Polivenok