St. Jude accepts 2nd group of Ukrainian cancer patients

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A second group of Ukrainian children with cancer has arrived for treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee after they fled with their families from the war in their home country, the hospital said.

Four children ages 6 to 17 and their 11 family members arrived at the Memphis hospital Monday after a flight on a chartered medical transport airplane departing from Poland, St. Jude said in a news release late Tuesday.

The group joins four other children and their 14 family members who arrived at St. Jude on March 21 after making an arduous journey from Ukraine to a clinic in Poland before they were flown to the U.S.

First lady Jill Biden visited the first group of arrivals at the hospital Friday.

St. Jude said it was helping families settle into their new surroundings with the help of Ukrainian interpreters. Using mostly private donations, families with children who are patients at St. Jude never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing and food.

In addition to receiving cancer treatment, the children also will get therapy to address their psychological, emotional and cultural needs, the hospital said.

“Our ongoing commitment is to ensure children with cancer around the globe have access to lifesaving care,” St. Jude president and CEO James Downing said. “We are honored to help these families resume their children’s lifesaving treatment in safety.”

Downing said St. Jude’s Global Alliance of 182 institutions in 61 countries “is uniquely positioned to bring the world together to address this humanitarian tragedy.”

In 2019, St. Jude began working with the government and hospitals in Ukraine to assess the level of care they could provide. Ties were established with four Ukrainian hospitals and other entities in Poland, Moldova and Romania, Downing told The Associated Press in an interview last week.

After Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, St. Jude teamed up with foundations in Poland to evacuate children with cancer from the war zone.

The collaborative has helped more than 730 patients by translating medical records and coordinating convoys from the Ukrainian city of Lviv to the Unicorn Marian Wilemski Clinic, a summer resort converted into a triage center in Poland.

From there, sick children have been taken to cancer centers in Europe, Canada and the U.S., Downing said.

A network of 200 translators across the world is converting patient records from Ukrainian or Russian into English or other languages.

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Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine.

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