Hear My Story

Ludmila and Olga

“On the first day of the war, people bought everything in the shops and took all the money out of the ATMs”

Ludmila (62) and Olga Yuryeva (35) are a mother and daughter from the Black Sea port city of Odessa. Both came to Warsaw, together with Ludmila’s 87 year-old father because they each suffer from medical conditions which require drugs. Those drugs were impossible to get after the war started. They left home 12 days after the start of the war and their grueling two-week journey to Modlinska took them hundreds of miles through Moldova, Romania and Hungary before reaching Poland.

Their story:
“Before the war, I had surgery for cancer and my daughter Olga has had diabetes since childhood. I used to work as an office cleaner before I was diagnosed,” said Ludmila. “The war was a real shock for me. At first we thought it was fireworks. I did not expect it and I did not sleep. On the first day of the war, people bought everything in the shops and took all the money out of the ATMs. We could no longer get the drugs we needed, including insulin for Olga. Medical centers closed and after 12 days, I just knew there was no longer anyone we could count on. I read that medical treatment for refugees in Poland was free so we had to get there. Moldova was the closest border so we went there by bus, but my dad fell over at the border. We stayed there for 4 days at a church to help him recover and then we went to Romania and then on to Budapest where we spent another week. When we reached Poland, it was a relief. At last, we were safe. And my father has had cataracts removed so he can see again.”

The Future:
Both Ludmila and Olga miss Ukraine very much and want to return to Odessa where Ludmila’s aunt still lives and her husband is buried. Though they feel safe at the center, they want to eat what they like, rather than what is on the menu. And Olga needs a special diet which is difficult to prepare. They would love to return now, but they cannot do so because there is still no access to medicines at home.

An Ask For Help:
The family does not have sufficient funds to buy all the medicine they need, even in Poland where 70% of the cost of insulin is covered. As a result, they take it in turns to skip doses of the medicines they need. They are looking for support to cover their medical expenses.