An update from Ukraine: Aid for the IBD community, heartbreak, and hope

For those of us who live in the United States it’s been devastating to watch the news coverage coming out of Ukraine since the war began there February 24th. I was lucky enough to connect with an IBD warrior, mom, and patient advocate named Elena Sotskova in the midst the chaos. She’s been working tirelessly for years to bridge the gap for patients and show all that’s possible in life while living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. We’ve been emailing back and forth. I pray each day, multiple times, for her safety and check in often to make sure her and her family are unharmed. When I see her name pop up in my email inbox it always comes with a big sigh of relief.

Today’s update is something many of us in the patient community have wondered and worried about—whether those with IBD are having access to their medications and ostomy supplies. Here’s the latest from Elena.

Dear Natalie!
Thank you for not forgetting about me, for your care and prayers. We are quiet now. The Russians have retreated from Kyiv and the region and are gathering their forces in the east. A big fight is expected there.

Kyiv and the Kyiv region are still life-threatening. A lot of mines and shells. Our people are working 24/7 to clear the area. We cannot return home to Kyiv yet. 😦 Thank God our house is not destroyed, and someday we will be able to return there. But many people are not lucky, they now have no house, no apartment. Very large destruction in Kyiv region.

A lot of people died, many tortured and raped. Even children. You must have heard or read about our Bucha. This is such a horror that it’s even scary to think about. When I think about how many people have already died because of this war, I cry. I don’t understand why the Lord punishes us, Ukraine, our people like that. What have we done wrong?

A few days ago, my friend’s husband died in the war. He wasn’t even 40 years old!
And there are thousands of such people. Most of all we want peace, and we want the Russians to leave our land. Forever and ever.

I try to work hard so as not to think about the horrors of war. I work 15 hours a day, then I just fall down and sleep. So, it’s easier for me. We received a large shipment of drugs from Dr. Falk (a German pharmaceutical company), 2 tons. Happy doctors and patients who unload them. Getting the necessary medicine is happiness for us now. Now I am engaged in distributing medicines to hospitals, and to patients, all over Ukraine.

Each patient who comes to me for medicines is a separate story and a separate pain. Someday I will write about it. During the week I heard hundreds of different stories, and they are all sad. I’m glad I can help them a little.

And I am glad that European friends are actively helping the IBD community. Yesterday Japan wrote to me and offered to help. The whole world is with us!

Stay in touch with you!
Hugging you
,
Elena from Ukraine