What started in Peoria, Illinois in March as an effort to send one ambulance filled with medical supplies to Ukraine has resulted in five ambulances being sent to Ukraine over the course of 45 days.
The effort was launched by an OSF HealthCare Mission Partner (employee), with support from the health care system, and an ambulance donation from Advanced Medical Transport (AMT) of central Illinois, in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and a desire to do something.
“I am so proud to be a part of OSF HealthCare and to live in place like Peoria, Illinois. Advanced Medical Transport and OSF were onboard immediately,” said Chris Manson, Vice President of Government Relations for OSF HealthCare and leader of the effort. “The fact that so many people did all they could to help fill the ambulance with supplies or help me in trying to find a way to send the ambulance to Ukraine really speaks volumes to the kindness of people, and their desire to help others in times of need.”
Since March 29, three flights have left Chicago, the most recent one on May 7. Each 747-800 jumbo jet was filled with supplies donated by the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America (UMANA) and others. The first two flights each delivered one fully operational and stocked ambulance. The May 7 flight contained three fully operational and stocked ambulances. Donated ambulances have come from Illinois, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Minnesota.
“This is an ongoing effort as, unfortunately, the need continues to grow. Everyday ambulances are being destroyed in Ukraine. As soon as our ambulances arrive they are immediately put to use across the country,” explained Manson. “We are fortunate that Americans are looking for ways to help and we continue to talk to private ambulance companies and first responders about possible donation opportunities. Work is underway to coordinate a fourth flight to send two recently donated ambulances.”
The two additional ambulances, which are expected to be in Ukraine by mid-June, will bring the total number of ambulances donated to seven. It appears more will be making their way to the war-torn country. As news of the ambulance donations spread, others have been reaching out with discussions underway with ambulance providers across the country concerning even more donations.