Updated on 11 May

UICC members mobilise to support people from Ukraine living with cancer

Ukrainian children with cancer and their families were airlifted to Spain, where they can continue their treatment and are being cared for by Fundación Aladina and other cancer organisations. Similar actions are taking place across Europe.
15 March 2022

The UICC Solidarity Fund for Ukraine has now reached over USD 1 million in contributions. Donations are still welcome and UICC will announce soon how the funds will be attributed. Read more here about actions by UICC members.

Some of these actions are being reported here as they come to UICC's attention.

Donations to the UICC Solidarity Fund

As of 14 April, the Solidarity Fund has received pledges of just over USD 1 million in donations, thanks to generous contributions from the Dutch Cancer Society, who initiated the project, the Danish Cancer Society, the Swiss Cancer League through its national solidarity campaign, the Norwegian Cancer Society, the Cancer Society of Finland, the Icelandic Cancer Society, the International Gynecologic Cancer Society, the European Society of Gynaecological Oncology (ESGO), the European Network of Gynaecological Oncological Trial Groups (ENGOT), the Nordic Society of Gynaecological Oncology (NSGO) and the Nordic Society of Gynaecological Oncology Clinical Trials Unit (NSGO-CTU), the Swedish Cancer Society, the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC) and Kom op tegen in Belgium, the International Gynecologic Cancer Society (IGCS) and Barncancerfonden (Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation). The Fund continues to welcome donations and is also open to contributions from organisations that are not UICC members.

Barncancerfonden (Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation), Sweden

Barncancerfonden in Sweden has donated USD 18,900 to the UICC Solidarity Fund supporting Ukrainian cancer patients and their families.

"The war in the Ukraine is appalling, and, like in all wars, children and the seriously ill are the most vulnerable and at great risk. Therefore it's a given for us to contribute to the efforts to assist Ukrainian children with cancer and their families through an experienced organisation like UICC and their emergency Fund for cancer care in Ukraine and neighbouring countries."
– Micael Mathasson, secretary-general at Barncancerfonden in Sweden

Kom op tegen Kanker, Belgium

Kom op tegen Kanker in Belgium has donated EUR 100,000  (approx. USD 108,000) to the UICC Solidarity Fund supporting Ukrainian cancer patients and their families.

"It is our duty to support Ukrainian cancer patients and their families. Go for it, UICC, and do your utmost to help these people!"
– Marc Michilis, Algemen Directeur (Managing Director) of Kom op tegen Kanker, Belgium

Icelandic Cancer Society

The Icelandic Cancer Society has donated EUR 10,500  (approx. USD 11,500) to UICC's Solidarity Fund.

"We observe the situation that has arisen in Ukraine with horror. The Icelandic Cancer Society wants to help cancer patients to get necessary care, in Ukraine or outside of Ukraine. In extreme situations, the need for international cooperation becomes very clear. The establishment of the Solidarity Fund makes it possible for the cancer societies to join forces and help. We know that all contributions matter. We think that a contribution to the Solidarity Fund is the best way to show our support and solidarity. We trust the UICC to put the contribution to good use."
– Valgerdur Sigurdardottir, President of the Icelandic Cancer Society

Cancer Society of Finland

The Cancer Society of Finland has donated  EUR 50,000  (approx. USD 55,000) to UICC's Solidarity Fund.

”Cancer diagnosis is a shock and causes a lot distress. Suffering from cancer in the middle of an escalating war and being not able to get proper care is a tragedy. The Cancer Society of Finland wants to help Ukrainian cancer patients to get decent care either in Ukraine or outside. The Solidarity Fund is the best tool for helping Ukrainian patients combining the expertise of Ukrainian cancer specialists and the various support of the global community of cancer leagues. This is the time when we need to show our solidarity and support for life. Our Cancer Society has made a donation to the Solidarity Fund.”
– Sakari Karjalainen, Secretary General of the Cancer Society of Finland

Swedish Cancer Society

The Swedish Cancer Society has donated  SEK 500,000  (approx. USD 54,000) to UICC's Solidarity Fund.

“The conflict in Ukraine has a devastating impact on people's lives and on health care. In such an extreme situation, the need for international cooperation becomes even clearer. The willingness to donate and the commitment of all member organisations that choose to support cancer patients in Ukraine makes me both grateful and proud.”
Ulrika Årehed Kågström, Secretary General Cancerfonden/Swedish Cancer Society

Norwegian Cancer Society

The Norwegian Cancer Society has committed NOK 400,000 (approx. USD 46,000) to UICC's Solidarity Fund, and has set up a hotline for Ukrainian refugees arriving in Norway.

"We commend UICC for its decision to establish an emergency Solidarity Fund to assist cancer organisations that are doing their best to serve patients affected by the conflict. We hope our contribution will help cancer patients and their caretakers, who are forced to flee from their homes to seek security and shelter. People with cancer in conflict-affected areas are more vulnerable as they are unable to get appropriate care and assistance.  We understand that some regions in Ukraine are inaccessible, hospitals and healthcare centers are damaged or destroyed and health workers injured, killed or displaced. We trust that our contribution will be put to good use."
– Ingrid S Ross, CEO of the Norwegian Cancer Society

Swiss Cancer League

The Swiss Cancer League has set up a national solidarity campaign to support Ukrainian cancer patients, with donations going to UICC's Solidarity Fund. The League has raised more than CHF 73,000 (approx. USD 78,000), almost twice as much as the original goal of CHF 40,000.

"Cancer patients are particularly affected by the war. It is our responsibility to support them. This is why we’ve joined the UICC members' efforts to ensure the safety and care of Ukrainian cancer patients and their families."
Daniela de la Cruz, CEO of the Swiss Cancer League

Societies of gynaecological oncology

The European Society of Gynaecological Oncology (ESGO), the European Network of Gynaecological Oncological Trial Groups (ENGOT), the International Gynecologic Cancer Society (IGCS) and the Nordic Society of Gynaecological Oncology (NSGO) and the Nordic Society of Gynaecological Oncology Clinical Trials Unit (NSGO-CTU) and have respectively pledged € 5,000, € 20,000, USD 2,000 and € 1,000 to the UICC Solidarity Fund supporting Ukrainian cancer patients and their families. The International Gynecologic Cancer Society also committed funds.

"Our thoughts are with the Ukrainian people and the gynaecological oncology patients in the war zones, who now fight not only against cancer but face the additional barrier of accessing treatment in a war. The ESGO contribution to the UICC fund is a signal of solidarity."
– Prof. Nicole Concin, President, ESGO

"ENGOT is built on the idea of pan-European cooperation, with everyone searching for the best care for patients through the best science. Our contribution to the UICC fund is a further statement of our support for patients from the Ukraine."
– Dr Mansoor R. Mirza, Chair, ENGOT

The International Gynecologic Cancer Society applauds the UICC for setting up the cancer care solidarity fund to provide support for the people and organisations in need struggling to serve patients affected by this conflict. While IGCS’ mission is focused on gynecologic cancers, our society is fully committed to reducing human suffering from injury, trauma, and disease and we readily contribute to help those providing the life-saving services needed for all cancer patients.
Mary C. Eiken, MS, CEO, International Gynecologic Cancer Society

The Danish Cancer Society

The Danish Cancer Society is donating up to DKK 3 million (approx. €400,000).

“The mission of the Danish Cancer Society is to ensure that fewer people in Denmark get cancer, more people survive cancer, and more people have a better life with cancer. But right now, the world has become a significantly more insecure place because of a terrible war in which innocent civilians are victims, including people affected by cancer. For that reason, we have decided to donate three million Danish kroner to UICC with the sole purpose of helping Ukrainian cancer patients, their families and relatives."
– Jesper Fisker, Director of the Danish Cancer Society.   

The Dutch Cancer Society

The Dutch Cancer Society reached out to UICC and initiated the project for a Solidarity Fund to help clear funds to Ukraine and the region. The organisation donated €100,000 of unrestricted funding to the Fund at its creation.

"As we are all shocked with the violent turn of events in Ukraine and the tragic loss of civilian lives, we have asked UICC if it could help clear funds for Ukrainian member organisations who are critical in the provision of continued cancer care services. The moment the cancer care solidarity fund for Ukraine is operational, the Dutch Cancer Society will contribute Euro 100,000 in unrestricted funding. We hope and trust other cancer societies will join in to support our colleagues in Ukraine in their hour of need."
–    Johan van de Gronden, CEO of the Dutch Cancer Society

Actions by UICC members to support cancer patients

European Cancer Organisation (ECO)

Following discussions with the WHO, EU Commission and the new ASCO-ECO Ukraine Steering Committee, the ECO Board and ASCO have created a new Special Network on the Impact of the War in Ukraine on Cancer

ECO has expanded its signposting hub that directs people with cancer to relevant support and services by adding new resources in individual countries, improving navigation and adding sections on psycho-social support. onco-help.org (or onko-help.org for Ukrainians and others who do not speak English) includes links to resources in different relevant languages. New links and information can be included by emailing them to ukraine@europeancancer.org

Asociatia MagicCAMP in Romania

By early March, Asociatia MagiCAMP had 50 volunteer drivers transporting people with cancer who had crossed the border with Ukraine to care centres in Romania. They were placed in the Association's MagicHOMEs, houses and apartments located near the larger hospitals made available by corporate sponsors and private donors. In this way, the Association was able to offer to 340 people as of 3 March accommodation as well as food, hygiene products and support in navigating the health system according to their medical needs.

Asociatia MagicCAMP is also setting up a "Magic Mother-Baby Centre" for mothers with newborns and children with special needs, as well as, more generally, a large shelter in Bucharest to accommodate all displaced people.

The organisation is issuing a call for cancer centres across Europe to take in children as well as adults who require ongoing treatment.

Fundacion Aladina in Spain

Fundación Aladina provides emotional, psychological and material support to children and teenagers with cancer and their families. The organisation arranged for the transport by plane of 25 young Ukrainian cancer patients and their families (69 people in total) to Madrid, Spain, in coordination with Tabletochky Charity Foundation in Ukraine and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in the US. St. Jude's Hospital also helped arrange the airlifting of Ukrainian children with cancer to the UK.

"All the patients were taken to four hospitals where they were evaluated and received treatment, and most were put back in our care. We have taken over a hotel and have filled it with interpreters, volunteers and amazing people devoted to making this transition as easy as possible.  They are now starting to relax and smile, it is a great joy to be able to spend time with them." 
Ishtar Espejo, Director, Fundación Aladina

Ramon Reyes, President of the Spanish Association Against Cancer (Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer or AECC) explained in a social media post: "The arrival of the children along with their families has been possible thanks to the request made to the Spanish Ministry of Defence by the Spanish Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology (SEHOP)."  

The patients and their families will soon be relocated to more permanent living arrangements, while Fundación Aladina covers most of their needs, along with other Spanish organisations dedicated to helping children with cancer. The Fundación Aladina is currently working on having two more planes bring patients to other regions of Spain.

This article was first published on 15 March and is updated as new information is received.

Last update: 
Friday 16 September 2022
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