$44 million and generators for Odessa hospitals: where did the help come from

Odesa, Ukraine, Jun 29, 2023

As Seen on Odesa Life Magazine

Anya Verkhovskaya is a philanthropist, volunteer and human rights activist from Milwaukee, USA. Anya worked with Steven Spielberg on a project to document the testimonies of Holocaust survivors. Now she is in Ukraine with a humanitarian mission. Anya began to help our country and Odessa from the first days of a full-scale war.

“I just couldn’t help it. I have always taught my children that you can’t just stand there and watch and do nothing when injustice happens. If people had not allowed it, the Holocaust would never have happened.”

“From February 24, I just started calling different numbers, people who I don’t know in Ukraine and asking if they need help and what kind of help they need. Nobody was surprised. I coordinated the evacuation of people, gave them the names and contacts of people who could help them on the spot.”

“So, quite by accident, I met Andreas Toelke, a German journalist and philanthropist, the founder of the Be an Angel foundation, which was involved in the evacuation of people from Ukraine through Odessa. I suggested that he start a partnership organization in Milwaukee called Friends of Be an Angel.”

Since the beginning of the war, Anya and her team have sent medical supplies, generators, and anti-radiation equipment worth $44 million. Hospitals and maternity hospitals in Odessa received powerful generators from Friends of Be an Angel during the blackouts. This allowed medical institutions to continue to operate and save lives.

In addition to delivering relief supplies, Anya helps children with Muscular Atrophy Syndrome (SMA) receive life-saving treatment. SMA is a genetic disorder. Children with this diagnosis lose the ability to move and eventually breathe if they do not receive adequate treatment.

Together with Irina Suslova, head of the Women’s Movement For Future Foundation, Anya evacuated 20 children with this disease from Ukraine to Europe and the USA.

Treatment of one child abroad costs 2.5 million dollars. This amount is covered by relevant charitable programs and medical insurance payments in the host countries. After completing the full course, the child can live a full life.

Also “Friends of Be an Angel” is the official sponsor of the program “Irpin and Milwaukee” – sister cities. Anya and her team organized a teleconference between the mayor of Irpin, Alexander Markushin, and the mayor of Milwaukee, Cavalier Johnson. The authorities of Milwaukee promised financial support for the construction and restoration of educational and sports infrastructure in the city, as well as donate equipment for connecting to the Internet.

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