To date, the Lions Australia Diabetes Foundation has donated $5,000 to assist the delivery of donated care packages to Ukrainian refugees with diabetes.
The grassroots community project has produced and delivered 740 care packages to the Children’s Diabetes Foundation and Polish Diabetes Association in Warsaw, Poland.
A community of 200+ Australians with type 1 diabetes have also been tirelessly bundling up these care packages for shipment since the war began in Ukraine.
Lions Australia’s National Diabetes Coordinator, Pat Mills provides insight into how the Diabetes Foundation has navigated through an international war to help some of our most vulnerable diabetics:
“On 28th February 2022, I first connected with Dominika Antoniszczak, a Polish doctor with type 1 diabetes herself, in Warsaw.
Then we spoke with credentialed Diabetes Educator, Belinda Moore to discuss how our Australian diabetes community could assist Ukrainians with type 1 diabetes who suddenly found themselves with no diabetes supplies due to the war.
We were aware that international organisations like Insulin For Life were providing immediate relief by supplying insulin for people with diabetes directly in Ukraine.
We wanted our care packages to include not just diabetes supplies, but comforting treats like entertainment packs for kids and warm essentials like beanies for adults. We also knew that as a community group, we wouldn’t have the resources to send supplies directly into Ukraine due to the war.
Knowing that other organisations were already assisting, we didn’t want our care packages to arrive to Poland too soon after the war began as we knew that it wouldn’t be long before the media decreased their focus on the war in Ukraine and moved their attention to other global events.
We wanted our care packages to arrive to Poland at a staggered rate over months to come…we knew that Ukrainians with diabetes would be needing support for a long time to come as they learn to rebuild their lives.
Our care packages were sent to Poland for those who would need a boost in their own diabetes services infrastructure as they found themselves having to support Ukrainian refugees with type 1 diabetes in addition to supporting their own type 1 diabetes community.
Between March and August, we have had an incredibly dedicated diabetes community receiving donations to their own homes and diabetes clinics across Australia followed by families and individuals bundling these donations into care packages. Care packages have been created for children and adults who manage their diabetes on MDI and pumps.
There have also been care packages created for new mothers who had diabetes in pregnancy.
Examples of what went into care packages included BGL meters, strips, prickers, lancets, batteries, needle tips, alcohol wipes, CGM sensors, pump consumables, non-perishable hypo food, toiletries, new baby items, children’s colouring in packs, soft toys, beanies and socks and heartwarming written notes sending courage and strength.
Although the main objective of this project was to send diabetes supplies, daily essentials and comforting treats; the outcomes for our Australian diabetes community who volunteered in this project was so healing. Australians felt so helpless as they watched the war unfold. They just needed to help.
Becoming involved in this project created an inspiring level of capacity and capability building amongst our own diabetes community in Australia resulting in the development of individual and community resilience”.
Anyone wishing to help support the project can contact the Lions Australia Diabetes Foundation.
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