CCRDF Is “Closing its Doors” After 22 Years

November 26, 2011

November 21, 2011, Kyiv: The Children of Chornobyl Relief and Development Fund announced that on February 14, 2012 – exactly 22 years, to the day, since the organization began with its first medical airlift – the Fund will conclude its humanitarian mission and medical programs in Ukraine.

During the press conference, CCRDF President Dr. Zenon Matkiwsky announced the Fund's final project – the implementation of Ukraine's first far-reaching telemedicine program. "Thirteen of our partner hospitals will be equipped with cutting-edge medical technology that will facilitate real-time visual consultations with doctors in the global network. The fulfillment of the program includes the purchase of equipment, installation, and training, and is valued at $620,000 U.S. dollars."

Dr. Illya Yemets, Former Minister of Health and Chief cardiac surgeon and head of the Ukrainian Children's Cancer Center, explained the process of telemedicine. "Telemedicine is an invaluable tool in healthcare because it facilitates an instant exchange of information between medical communities and leading global medical institutions for the benefit of patients."

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine the Honorable John F. Tefft spoke on behalf of the six former Ambassadors to Ukraine and on behalf of the U.S. government which has subsidized the transport costs of CCRDF's 32 airlifts and 18 sea shipments. "The Fund's achievements are unmatched in Ukraine. It has given more than 63 million dollars in medical aid to 31 hospitals and 3 orphanages. This support has helped thousands of children survive serious diseases and live healthier lives. The Fund's work has inspired other organizations, philanthropists, businesses, and Ukraine's government to take an active approach to improving the healthcare system in Ukraine. This is one of the most important legacies CCRDF leaves behind."

During the press conference, CCRDF's Co-Founder and Executive Director Nadia Matkiwsky presented three awards to individuals who have played a significant role in fulfilling the Fund's mission. CCRDF Financial Officer Tanya Fesenko Vena was honored with the Outstanding Service Award for 22 years of dedicated service as the Financial Officer and for her unwavering efforts to save the lives of children in Ukraine; CCRDF Vice-President Valerie Burachinsky was honored with the Outstanding Service Award for voluntarily coordinating all humanitarian shipments; and CCRDF Country Director Alexa Milanytch was honored for her many years of outstanding commitment and dedication to the mission.

Regarding the reason for closing the Fund, Dr. Matkiwsky stated, "Nadia and I have had a memorable time working to benefit the well-being of Ukraine's future generations and would not trade in a moment of our 22 years of volunteering. It is time for us to thank you and to continue our journey to our private lives with our four wonderful children and their spouses and our fantastic thirteen grandchildren." This sentiment is respectively shared by the CCRDF Executive Team and the Board of Directors.

Ms. Milanytch addressed the audience on behalf of the Kyiv staff, "We are confident in the decision made regarding the closing of the Foundation, proud to have been a part of the Fund's accomplishments, and know that our impact will be felt for generations to come."

The press conference was attended by Ukraine's National Deputy Volodymyr Yavorivsky who is hailed as CCRDF's Honorary Founder because of his staunch support of the Fund's mission as well as CCRDF's staff and volunteers, partner doctors, supporters, Ukrainian and international organizations and companies who have been supporting the Fund's mission for 22 years.

The event was sponsored by: Philip Morris Ukraine, American Medical Centers, InterContinental Kyiv, Salans, and Pravex Bank.

Photos courtesy of United States Embassy, What's On and Brad Miller.