Yoga United for Ukraine
Supporting Children and Adolescents with Cancer Affected by War
Lyudmyla Kharlamova, Zaporozhye, Ukraine
Yoga United for Ukraine is a grass roots fundraiser created on behalf of Ukrainian children and adolescents with cancer whose life-saving treatment has been disrupted by war. This campaign is organized by a team of oncology yoga therapists and yoga teachers in US, Canada, UK, Australia, and India who are long-time colleagues and members of the international Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) Yoga Special Interest Group (Yoga SIG). For two years, we have been working together in academic medical centers and hospitals to integrate yoga into standard cancer care to improve the lives of people with cancer. As yoga professionals in the field of integrative oncology, we know firsthand that having a child or adolescent diagnosed with cancer is a traumatic experience for every family and requires an enormous inner strength from parents, siblings, or close relatives. Tragically, Ukrainian families affected by cancer are now faced with a second malignancy: War.
They need our help.
The mission of Yoga United for Ukraine is simple: to help alleviate suffering. This is the essence of Yoga - to practice selfless acts of kindness without expectation of return, coming from a place of love (Sanskrit: Seva). To that end, our goal is to raise US$ 50,000 by April 15, 2022 via Global Giving for the provision of life-saving therapy, supportive care, and safe haven for young Ukrainians with cancer and their families. We are enthusiastically supporting the extraordinary work of Tabletochki Charity Foundation, Ukraine's largest pediatric oncology nonprofit. They are a partner of St Jude Children's Research Hospital (St Jude) in the United States and a Ukraine member organization of Childhood Cancer International (CCI). Since 2011, Tabletochki has procured medicines not available to the public for 21 Ukrainian oncology units. They also arrange for palliative care and psychological support, pay for treatment abroad when it is unavailable in Ukraine, run regular art therapy lessons at pediatric oncology departments, develop the volunteer and donor movement in Ukraine, and advocate for reforms in pediatric cancer treatment at the country level.
Now, Tabletochki is providing essential humanitarian aid and continuity of care to children and teens whose time-sensitive cancer treatment has been interrupted by bombs and gunfire ... and they are doing so in an exquisitely fragile environment (see March 1, 2022 profile in St Jude Inspire). Currently, they are evacuating families to Poland and working alongside St Jude, who is organizing a European network of hospitals to accept Ukrainian pediatric patients in Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, and UK. Several are coming to US.
We are in contact with Tabletochki staff on ground in Lviv (they are also in Poland and neighboring countries). They wrote us that in the first days following the invasion, they coordinated the evacuation of over 200 medically complex pediatric cancer patients, which together with their families accounted for more than 450 people. They are also in need of chemotherapy drugs and antibiotics as they continue evacuations. On March 12, 2022, MSNBC interviewed Yuliya Nogovitsyna, Director of Programming for Tabletochki. See her moving testimony at 1:55 in the video below.
We invite you to join hand and heart with our compassionate yoga and cancer community and make a tax deductible contribution to support Tabletochki's humanitarian aid. You may donate securely via Global Giving, a US nonprofit (with a 4/4 rating on Charity Navigator) that connects donors with grassroots projects around the world. Yoga teaches us that we are "all one". When we all come together, the scale of the collective good can make a more profound impact on the lives of Ukraine's children, teens, young adults, and families. And please be sure to share ... digital fundraising is a modern, supercharged way to multiply our reach by introducing our friends, family, and networks to our efforts. If you would like to speak to us directly, email: Peace(AT)YogaUnitedForUkraine(DOT)org and we will respond quickly, dependent on time zones. We are so grateful for your financial support, prayers, and for sharing this grass roots fundraiser with your network.
Today we are amplifying the voice of the cancer community in Ukraine, but we are not turning away from the profound suffering experienced by millions of cancer patients in other parts of the world. We recognize that disparity in cancer care is itself a malignancy and we are committed to fighting it. This is but one effort to do so. We gratefully acknowledge support from the Center for Global Health Equity and Empowerment (GHEE), British Society for Integrative Oncology (BSIO), Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO), International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), and we thank Ukrainian artist Lyudmyla Kharlamova for creating the international peace dove we have chosen as our symbol. May it be a harbinger of hope for Peace on Earth.
We leave you with a hauntingly beautiful musical meditation for peace: Verbovaya Doschechka, an old Ukraine folk song performed by 94 violinists from 29 countries, 10 of whom are located in bomb shelters in Ukraine. One of them, Illia Bondarenko, filmed between explosions because he could not hear himself play.
Photo of Tabletochki's team a few years ago. Founder Olga Kudinenko is front row, second from the right. See their March 1, 2022 profile in St Jude Inspire (click link).
Pronounced "Taa Blāy Toch Kee"
In Ukrainian it means: "pills" (for children)