Ukrainian children with cancer evacuated from Poland to St. Jude Children’s Hospital


Four Ukrainian children whose cancer treatments were interrupted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine were flown from Poland to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to continue their treatment, the US State Department said on Tuesday. Along with some immediate family members, the children, aged 9 months to 9 years, arrived in Memphis, Tennessee, just weeks after the invasion began.

St. Jude is the first hospital in the US to accept Ukrainian patients, the hospital said in a press release. The hospital said it would provide the children with cancer treatment and “trauma-informed psychosocial therapy” and formulated a school curriculum for the children and their siblings.

The State Department said it “supported the airlift of these pediatric oncology patients and some of their immediate family members from Poland to Memphis International Airport, where they were collected and transported to St. Jude,” but gave no further details on the role it played .

A brother and sister patient with cancer arrive in Memphis.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

The department announced the evacuation, which provided the children with “necessary life-saving and immediate care,” but noted that the children being transported “represent a small portion of the thousands of patients whose cancer treatment has been interrupted and who, even amid a pandemic and with a debilitated immune systems were forced to flee their homes.” Russia’s war in Ukraine has forced 10 million Ukrainians to flee their homes, the head of the UN refugee agency, Filippo Grandi, said on Sunday.

“Therefore, together with our allies and partners, we will continue to support our Ukrainian partners to save lives and end this unnecessary war,” she added.

The initiative was part of St. Jude Global’s SAFER Ukraine, a humanitarian effort to evacuate children with cancer from war zones. The effort has currently helped more than 600 patients coordinate convoys, translate medical records and transport patients to other European cancer centers.

A young Ukrainian cancer patient is evaluated at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

Justin Veneman on St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

“This is exactly why my father founded St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” Tony Thomas, St. Jude/ALSAC board member and son of founder Danny Thomas, said in the press release. “When he said no child should die at the dawn of life, he didn’t just mean America’s children.”

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