Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, UICC set up a Solidarity Fund in response to its members’ requests to bridge funding into the region to support the needs of cancer organisations struggling to assist patients affected by the conflict.
The Solidarity Fund received donations over the amount of USD 1 million by early April and opened a call for grants for qualifying organisations. The donations have been and continued to be pooled and distributed to recipients on application, on the advice and guidance of an Advisory Board, and through a streamlined selection process established by UICC to ensure the legitimacy of the applying organisation and the quality and relevance of project applied for.
The Fund continues to welcome donations and is also open to contributions from organisations that are not UICC members.
The UICC Solidarity Fund for Ukraine supports projects that help address the impact of the conflict on Ukrainian cancer patients and their families now and in the immediate future.
In particular, funds are being made available for the following types of emergency support (but not limited to this list):
Medical Laboratory CSD (“Care and Safe Diagnostics”) is specialised in pathology services and collaborates actively with an extensive network of hospitals and universities in Ukraine and abroad. It is one of the largest laboratories in the country, diagnosing some 30% of all malignant cases of cancer (there are about 160,000 total cases per year).
With funding from the grant, Medical Laboratory CSD will be able to provide women with diagnostic testing for breast cancer – the most common type of cancer in Ukraine. Breast core needle biopsy specimens will be tested for molecular diagnostic markers such as ER, PR, HER-2, Ki-67 and consultations and follow-up treatment will subsequently be provided by the relevant cancer centres.
The mission of the Charitable Foundation Kvitna in Ukraine is to provide informational and educational programmes aimed at improving the early diagnosis of breast cancer and reducing the number of related deaths.
With the grant from the UICC Solidarity Fund, Kvitna aims to help cover the operational costs of the National Cancer Institute in Ukraine to ensure that it can pursue its activities as best as possible in treating cancer patients. This includes purchasing medicines and tools that are lacking at the National Cancer Institute, where Ukrainians are currently treated for cancer.
As of 4 July, the number of Ukrainian refugees who have relocated to other countries in Europe – primarily Poland and other neighbouring countries – is estimated at 5.2 million. Many of them have had to rely on the support of volunteers, interpreters, families as well as medical teams who have provided safe transport, organised accommodations and offered health care.
The Fundacja Onkologiczna Rakiety or “Rockets Cancer Foundation” was established in 2012 to support people living with cancer throughout their patient journey. The project funded by the grant aims to extend that support to oncology patients and their families or friends who come to Poland because of the war in Ukraine.
Three types of activities will be carried out: a helpline, permanent assistance and financial help. The project is expected to last about a year and support 100 oncology patients from Ukraine.
The Youth Cancer Europe Foundation unites youth cancer networks across Europe. it is specifically dedicated to serving young people with cancer, to act as a “bridge between childhood and adult cancer patients, across tumour types."
YCE received a grant for its Ukrainian Crisis Response Project, which helps Ukrainian cancer patients continue their treatment abroad in a safe environment. The first priority, says Katie Rizvi, Founder of Fundatia Youth Cancer Europe, is for the patients and their families to reach safety in one of the neighbouring countries. Then they need to navigate local health systems and find the best possible solution according to their diagnostic and medical history.
The Blue Heron Foundation is a charitable organisation that operates in the US, Moldova and Romania, and its primary mission is to extend support to and ensure the well-being of Romanian and Moldovan orphaned and abandoned youth.
The Foundation extended its activities after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, providing medicines and medical equipment from Romania to hospitals in Ukraine. It is also collaborating with Project Hope and has developed a cancer care programme for Ukrainian patients, partnering with other foundations to support Ukrainian refugees arriving in Romania and Moldova.
The grant received through the Solidarity Fund will:
The OnkoUkraine project aims to help refugees from Ukraine suffering from cancer to make it easier for them to start or continue treatment in Poland.
The award covers a contribution towards the costs of running website: www.alivia.org.pl/onkoukraina and a hotline in Polish and Ukrainian, translation of medical documentation and transportation to and from treatment centres.
The objectives of the project are to support Ukrainian refugees suffering from cancer, enabling them to start or continue cancer treatment in Poland. The project will provide information and organisational support to around 5,000 refugees from Ukraine residing in Poland. Specific objectives include:
The charity fund of patients “Drop of Blood” started helping adult cancer patients since the first days of the war. The organisation was created by patients with a chronic myeloid leukaemia diagnosis and is experienced in collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, and State Enterprise Medical Procurement of Ukraine regarding raising funds, purchasing cancer medications and distributing them among district cancer centres.
Now is the time when the organisation’s help and experience is most needed. Through the support of international donors, it fulfils social control over the work of cancer centres in Ukraine. Unfortunately, under martial law not all patients are currently able to receive treatment in cancer centres. They do not have access to the medications they need to take to keep them alive in the regions where they have been forced to move as a result of the ongoing conflict.
The funded project involves making an analysis of 24 district cancer centres, the Kyiv municipal cancer centre, and the National Institute of Cancer regarding the supply of chemotherapeutic drugs and medical items.
The availability of medications in the cancer centres, included on the list of purchases of drugs and medical items for the state budget will be monitored and reagents for PCR diagnostics for CML patients will be purchased and be provided to the Interregional centre of medical genetics and prenatal diagnostics of Dnipro.
The Medical centre KPD-medklinik provides oncological care for residents of the city of Kharkiv, Kharkiv region and adjacent regions. The centre provides surgical treatment and chemotherapy treatment and is also a training center for doctors of Ukraine and the world in onco-gynaecology, onco-mammology, chemotherapy, and is the clinical base of the Kharkov Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education (KhMAPO).
The centre is currently faced with serious difficulties after the outbreak of hostilities. The building in which the clinic is located and part of the equipment has been damaged due to the bombing of Kharkov in March. The grant contributes to costs related to the reconstruction of the premises, medical equipment, ventilation systems, windows and doors.
Thanks to the support from the UICC Solidarity Fund, the centre will be able to continue to provide high-quality surgical and therapeutic care to all patients with onco-gynaecological cancer: uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, vulvar cancer, cervical cancer, fallopian tube cancer; breast cancer, skin cancer, and appropriate chemotherapy
The project aims at the development and maintenance of a psychological support facility for cancer patients and oncology staff (doctors, nurses and other medical personnel) at S.P. Grigoriev Institute for Medical Radiology and Oncology in Kharkiv which remains the only cancer hospital in Eastern Ukraine providing full-scale medical services for cancer patients.
There is an urgent need for specific psychological aid for patients and health professionals suffering from cancer and war conditions.
The project outcome should be an increase in the psychological resistance rate and the overall improvement of the emotional status of cancer patients and the prevention of professional burnout in oncologists during the hostilities in Ukraine.
The project will provide emergency assistance to the cancer departments of two large hospitals in Ukraine: The National Specialized Children Hospital OKHMATDYT and The First Territorial Medical Association of Lviv. These two hospitals currently treat over a thousand oncological paediatric patients from all over Ukraine: in addition to continuing its main work, they have become evacuation hospitals, accepting children with cancer who currently cannot be helped in hospitals in their regions. They meet urgent severe shortages of a lot of basic equipment and medicines, namely syringe pumps and anaesthesia drugs.
The award will allow the purchase of syringe pumps, syringes and lines and anaesthesia drugs. A minor portion of the project resources will be used to cover the operational costs of the Krona Charity Foundation in order it continues its active support of cancer patients –helping with relocation, solving urgent humanitarian issues, supplying medicines, etc.
Radiotherapy centres in Western and Central Ukraine operate currently at doubled patient volume conditions. Also, the supply chains have been disrupted as a result of the war, and tender agreements are challenging to procure during war conditions.
Ukrainian radiotherapy centres asked the awarded association to help them secure disposable immobilisation devices and boluses for radiation therapy. The association collected the requests and organized them by vendors who have provided quotes for immobilization masks and will also donate the boluses.
Receiving the grant will make it possible to cover the shortage of masks, which means that patients will be accurately treated, despite the current difficulties.
For this project, the civil society organisation Global Medical Knowledge Alliance, which is led by Ukrainian physicians and scientists, will partner with the Ukrainian Oncohub, the Ministry of Health in Ukraine, and the National cancer institute to collect and disseminate real-time public and private cancer diagnostic and treatment capacity in Ukraine. We will collaborate with organisations including Inspiration Family to provide the patient perspective about imaging and diagnostic procedure waiting times at specific cancer centres to ensure data accuracy.
Collected information will be updated at least monthly, analysed, summarized by cancer centre, posted on a front-facing online platform, and disseminated to key stakeholders to improve the care of patients with cancer and support medical teams dedicated to their care.
The aim of the project is to establish a Mental Health Hub for Ukrainian refugees with cancer, their family members and/or personal caregivers, with the main goal to provide professional psychological support.
The Hub will plan and manage actions and related support for mental care using the expert resources of the Bulgarian Association of Psych-Oncology which is a member of the Bulgarian Joint Cancer Network. The scope of the initiative will be developed within co-support by the technological capabilities and collaboration with Bulgarian e-Health technological enterprise.
In the city of Zaporizhzhya there is one certified pathological laboratory that conducts relevant research and provides services to all oncological medical institutions in this region of Ukraine. Today, payment for morphological and immunohistochemical studies in oncology is not provided by the Ministry of Health and the National Health Service of Ukraine and is forced to be carried out at the expense of the patients themselves, many of whom are not able to do this on their own. As a result, breast cancer therapy in women is carried out without studying the receptor status of the tumour, which leads to a violation of the minimum diagnostic standards and worsens the results of treatment.
The goal of the awarded project is to provide women with breast cancer in the South-East of Ukraine during the war with adequate morphological and immunohistochemical diagnosis and adequate treatment.
Today, cancer patients in Ukraine are under psychological stress not only as a result of a severe illness but also because of the ongoing war, which leads to severe depression and disrupts the implementation of planned treatment protocols. No less relevant are the psychological problems that arise in family members in which there is an oncological patient receiving anticancer treatment.
The overall goal of the project is to provide cancer patients and their families with qualified psychological assistance at all stages - from cancer diagnosis to the completion of radical or palliative treatment, as well as at the stage of remission during medical and social rehabilitation.
The task of various methods of psychological support is to enhance adaptation to traumatic life events and achieve compliance for the implementation of planned antitumor protocols during chemotherapy and other treatments.
In general, the goal of combining antitumor therapy methods with psychological support is to improve treatment outcomes, increase the level of rehabilitation and improve the quality of patients lives and their families.
The goal of the project is to ensure sustainable and continuous treatment of Ukrainian cancer patients during the war. We propose to do so by monitoring the urgent needs of cancer patients and developing and implementing ways to meet these needs by navigating patients and families to existing resources.
The grant has allowed the purchase of a new mobile X-ray C-arm machine to perform drainage and stenting of bile ducts in mechanical jaundice, stenting of ureters and nephrostomy in ureteral obstruction, gastrostomy and esophageal stenting in malignant strictures of esophagus, stomach outlet and intestinal obstruction, vertebral augmentation in vertebral pathological fractures, neurolysis and nerve blocks in severe pain in cancer patients, implantation of central venous port systems.
One grant will cover the operating costs of the civil society Athena. Women Against Cancer organisation which is based in Ukraine, and two additional grants support the procurement of laboratory materials for the diagnosis of BRCA1/2 mutations in breast cancer patients and next generation sequencing for the diagnostic testing of non-small cell lung cancer patients
The grant supports the purchase of bone biopsy materials, gastronomy and jejunal/gastric feeding tubes by the non–profit enterprise “Precarpathian Clinical Oncologic Center of Ivano-Frankivsk Regional Council”, where cancer patients receive medical care.
The grant allows the precurement of specialised medical beds for Cherkasy Regional Cancer Center for paediatric cancer patients
UICC has a long history of building capacity for cancer organisations globally through grant making.
As part of its Breast Cancer Programme, UICC has awarded 15 grants to UICC members to support evidence-based projects focused on improving the availability of and access to early detection of breast cancer.
Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) accounts for 90% of breast cancer deaths. To tackle this growing cancer burden in 2015 UICC teamed up with Pfizer Oncology to launch the Seeding Progress and Resources for the Cancer Community (SPARC) MBC Challenge
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