Worldorphanrelief’s Weblog

Just another weblog

Emergency Mission to Deliver Respirators to Lysychansk

Posted by worldorphanrelief on April 13, 2020

We recently launched one of our most complicated missions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It was discovered that Lysychansk, Ukraine, had only 4 respirators to service a population of over 100,000.  This would not suffice.

Knowing that we could not deliver automatic respirators, I put my chief medical officer, Shawn Colwell, to work on finding a cheap but effective alternative.  What he concluded was to supply manual respirators (ambu bags), supplement with O2, and find enough volunteers to man the respirators 24 hours a day until the crisis was over.

I immediately went to work acquiring 120 ambu bags, O2 tubing, and pulse oximeters to distribute to the medical facilities in Lysychansk which needed these items the most.  I then contacted the Ukrainian embassy, which organized a charter flight to deliver these items to Ukraine.  DVA co-director Ashton Gough and I prepared and delivered the shipment to Gerogii Dubynski of the UA embassy.  Elena, a great friend in Lysychansk, organized everything with the Lysychansk medical community for delivery and distribution, and Petr Kostyria gathered volunteers from the Lysychansk Red Cross to operate the manual respirators.

This was our plan, and it was executed in just over 1 week.  It was an amazing accomplishment for us all and one which will save many, many lives.  Lysychansk is now prepared to fight COVID-19 a bit better than it was 2 weeks ago.




Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Ukraine Mission 10 a Success!

Posted by worldorphanrelief on April 13, 2020

This post is long overdue.  I returned from Ukraine in late January after delivering a large shipment of medical supplies to the Limpopo Veterinary Clinic in Lysychansk.  This was the primary goal of the mission and the first major action of our new Department of Veterinary Affairs.  I also discussed starting a new education sharing program between US doctors and the Lysychansk State Medical College.  Finally, I visited two orphanages and spent time with the children.  This was my favorite part of the mission.

UA Mission 11 was due to launch this month but had to be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Rest assured, however, that we are still helping the people as much as possible during these troubled times.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Ukraine Mission 10 a Go!

Posted by worldorphanrelief on January 9, 2020

Tomorrow I am departing for Ukraine to complete our 10th mission to the region.  We will be delivering medical equipment to the Lysychansk Maternity Hospital, as well as visit orphanages and the Lysychansk Children’s Hospital.

Additionally, we will be completing the first major action of the new Department of Veterinary Affairs.  I will visit a vet clinic in Lysychansk and deliver a large quantity of medical supplies so that the regions pets may continue to receive comprehensive care.

I wish to thank everyone for their support.  Without you none of this would be possible!!!



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Playground for Special Needs Children

Posted by worldorphanrelief on July 10, 2019

Special Needs Playground 2
Ukraine has an abundance of wonderful special needs kids. I love them all. But I have noticed that there are little to no playgrounds that are suitable for children with mobility and/or mental complications.
Last night I contemplated what it would take to build a playground specifically for special needs kids (I believe they are called Inclusive Playgrounds). Additionally, I want to sponsor classes which will help their parents understand how to work with their disabilities. It will be a massive endeavor, but if achieved it would be a great step forward for all.
At this point I am looking for ideas about how the above may be accomplished. If you have thoughts I want to hear them!!!
Photo: An Inclusive Playground.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Possible Medical Mission to Venezuela

Posted by worldorphanrelief on July 9, 2019

Venezuala HRW

Venezuela has been suffering a horrific and ongoing humanitarian crisis, the result of which is the mass exodus of almost 4 million citizens to surrounding countries. It is the largest migration problem the region has endured in recent history. People have given up their jobs and homes to escape rampant violence, starvation, and lack of medical services.

As you know, I have been addressing this issue from Colombia and established relations with UNHCR ACNUR to assist Venezuelan refugees in Medellin. This is not enough. Those who remain in Venezuela are suffering terrible hardships and we must answer the call.

Discussions are currently under way to decide if and how we may help the people inside Venezuela. The complicating factor is the extreme possibility of violence and/or incarceration. Our focus will be on medicine and related services. Time is critical so we will make a ruling quickly.

Photo: The people continue endure harsh living conditions due to the lack of humanitarian aid.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Update Valya

Posted by worldorphanrelief on May 31, 2019

As you may recall, I took on a stage 4 Lymphoma patient in Ukraine (fundraising only) last January. Her name is Valya, and she is a great and courageous person whose strength I admire.

Valya is now on her 2nd to last chemo session and is doing very well! The funds I was able to raise (200 + 45 bank transfer fee) was successfully delivered the other day…after many weeks of complications. A large sum for a person with my diverse financial needs but a tiny amount when it comes to trying to save a life.

I made a promise that if she beats her cancer I would pay for her to see Venice. It is her dream. I expect this day will come. Please keep her in your prayers as she is in mine…every day.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Volunteers Needed

Posted by worldorphanrelief on May 20, 2019

We are seeking volunteers to join us for field operations in harsh mission zones. This is in keeping with my recent announcement that we are returning to the original purpose of The Fishermen, which is to assist people where other NGOs cannot. We prefer a solid team but understand that participation will be based on your availability.
1) Combat experience highly preferred.
2) Medical experience preferred.
3) Ability to remain on-location for 2 weeks minimum preferred.
4) Excellent communication and diplomatic skills required.
5) Ability to work with children…especially special needs…required.
6) Ability to operate in hostile environments required.
Our basic expectation is for you to work in coordination with UN agencies on-location, as well as provide medical aid and assistance to orphanages and refugees in complicated jurisdictions and under harsh conditions. Actual combat conditions are unlikely, but absolutely possible. The majority of what we are to accomplish is what we have done since the beginning: deliver medical supplies/services, comfort the people, provide hope, and assist in evacuation efforts when needed. We operate on our own but coordinate with UN agencies whenever possible.
Occupations of particular interest are as follows:
1) Combat Medic
2) Nurse
3) Paramedic
4) Psychologist
5) Social Workers
6) Teachers
Again, we need volunteers. There are no rewards, benefits, or paychecks. We are in this to save lives – nothing more…nothing less. If interested please contact me directly. I hope to hear from you.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Fishermen Announcement

Posted by worldorphanrelief on May 13, 2019

Alex 93
Sarah and I created The Fishermen to respond to calls in places others dare not tread. I kept this goal alive but believe that in the past few years I have become soft, choosing known targets over dangerous ones because they are easier…cheaper. This ends today.
Effective immediately, I am reinstating the original concept of The Fishermen and placing harsh targets back on the list. Priority will be based on urgency, not convenience. If there are people in need who are not being accessed by aid agencies, we will take the call. Remember – this is who we are.
Ukraine Mission 10 will remain on the roster as well as Colombia Mission 2. They are set and will not be cancelled. Working with UNHRC in CO remains a primary task, as is alleviating the crisis in Venezuela. Mission announcements to harsh targets will be censored for security purposes.
I thank you all for your continued support. I am unsure where we will go after UA 10 and CO 2, but Kate and I can promise that wherever we land, we will make a difference.
Photo:  On the way to assist an orphanage under fire in Shchastya, 2014.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Ukraine Mission 10 Under Way

Posted by worldorphanrelief on April 27, 2019

In the next few days I will announce the departure date of UA Mission 10.  During my time in Ukraine I will spend time with Valya – my Lymphoma patient, Dasha, Nicol, and Misha, as well as visit the Lysychansk State Medical College, the Lysychansk Maternity Hospital, and the Lysychansk Children’s Hospital.  A lot must be accomplished so wish me luck as I will be without my co-director on this mission!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »


Posted by worldorphanrelief on April 26, 2019

I was recently awarded a medal by the government of Ukraine for helping her people.  It is an extreme and unexpected honor.

As I approach my 10th mission to UA, I look back at all which has been achieved by not just me, but my team and…especially…my co-director, Kate Mitchenko.  I could not have done it without her.  This is also extremely true of my co-founder, Sarah Blocher, as she and I created The Fishermen together.

I thank every one of you for your support as you, too, have been an indispensable part of of my charitable endeavors.  WE make the world better together – it is never the act of one person acting alone.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »