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Valley couple with ties to Ukraine to go help refugees near war-torn country

Posted at 5:02 PM, Mar 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-09 20:47:10-05

PHOENIX — A Valley couple with ties to Ukraine is preparing to head to eastern Europe to help those fleeing the war-torn country.

Though Konstantin and Melissa Lukashevich say they are going to need the community's help to pull it off.

"You know obviously Ukraine is very dangerous right now," said Konstantin.

The Lukashevich family tells ABC15 they prefer to stay in Poland to help but are willing to cross the Ukrainian border to carry those fleeing the war to safety.

"I guess it's our way of trying not to feel so helpless," Melissa added.

They are also hoping to get loved ones living in Ukraine out of there, too.

"Extracting them would be a lot easier if they weren't in the middle of where a lot of Russian troops are," said Konstantin.

Konstantin was born in Ukraine and moved to the states when he was 2 years old.

He also served the U.S. Marines and says he's ready to fight to defend his country.

"I have no issues fighting, I mean I do have the training," he added.

Melissa says she would take up arms, too. She can't stay behind and watch more people die.

"I was a corrections sergeant for over five years, so I have experience with weapons and stuff too," she said, shortly before saying she would defend refugees and her husband if need be.

The couple is also making plans to leave their 3-year-old son in Washington, under the care of Konstantin's sister.

"It's a really, really hard situation," said Melissa.

They've started a GoFundMe to help with expenses like airfare, renting fleet vans, fuel, food, and shelter--for them and the refugees. Expenses that easily exceed $10,000.00 and will be used quickly.

"And then medical supplies for the refugees, too," Melissa told ABC15.

St. Mary's Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Phoenix is also doing its part to help.

The church, located at 1102 N 10th St, Phoenix, AZ 85006, is accepting medical supply donations every day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"We in a mission to do [this] until they will tell us from Ukraine, we don't need this anymore," said Svitlana Jelden.

Jelden is a volunteer at the church and says they collect boxes and send them over to the Ukrainian Culture Center to pack and ship.

The center is located at 730 W Elm St, Phoenix, AZ 85013.

"They're already going to Poland and from Poland to Ukraine," Jelden told ABC15 about the latest shipment.

Mari Moore is among those who came to the church to donate several boxes of medical supplies.

"It can make a difference there, it can save a life there, then it makes you feel really good to donate it. Hopefully, it gets there really quick," he said.

As for the Lukashevich family, they are just hoping to get there sooner rather than later to help those feeling the war in Ukraine.

"The overall goal is just to help as many people as we can, and if my family can make it to Poland, that'd be all the much better,” said Konstantin.

Here is a list of items St Mary's Ukrainian Orthodox Church is most in need of donations of:

Tactical/Medical Supplies: 

  • Backpacks, 10 x 19 x 14 (approximate size)
  • Bandage strips, 1’’ x 3’’
  • Big cinch abdominal bandage
  • Burn aid - water gel burn dressing 4x16
  • Burn aid - water gel burn dressing 4x4
  • Butterfly strips
  • Cervical collar
  • CPR mask 
  • Cravat bandage (CamoVat)
  • Dynarex medicut sterile disposable scalpels #10
  • EMT shears
  • Eye wash 4oz.
  • IV catheter 18g
  • IV catheter 20g
  • IV catheter 22g
  • IV starter kits
  • Medical adhesive tape rolls (2-3in)
  • Multi-trauma dressings, 12’’x30’’
  • Pain relievers -ibuprofen or acetaminophen, or both
  • Pair of tweezers
  • Safety pins
  • Stainless steel hemostats
  • Sutures needle, size 6
  • The emergency (Israeli battle dressing) compression bandages
  • Tongue depressors
  • Triple antibiotic ointment (full size)

Hospital needs:

  • Abdominal pad (sometimes “ab pads”), 5’’ x 9’’ (2x)
  • Acetaminophen / Tylenol
  • Adhesive bandages (band-aids) in several sizes
  • Adhesive tape
  • Aluminum splint, 36’’
  • Ambu bags
  • Antibacterial ointment
  • Antibiotics: Zosyn and unasyn iv, vancomycin iv
  • Antiseptics wipes
  • Aspirin / Bayer
  • Butterfly bandages, 0.5’’ x 2.75’’ (16x)
  • Caffeine pills
  • Central venous catheter kit
  • Chest seals (1 pair)
  • Coban roll, standard, 2’’ x 5 yards
  • Cravat / triangular bandage, 45’’ x 45’’ x 63’’
  • Diphenhydramine / Benadryl
  • Doxycycline and/or Bactrim antibiotics
  • Dressing materials, include dry or impregnated gauze
  • Elastic bandage
  • Elastic wrap / ACE bandage, standard 4’’ x 5 yards
  • Emergency blanket (2x)
  • Fluids: IVF (nss 09%, LR, d5nss)
  • Gauze pads, 4’’ x 4’’ (6x)
  • Gels, foams, hydrocolloids, alginates, hydrogels, and polysaccharide pastes, sutures
  • Gloves (2 pairs)
  • Hydrocortisone cream (1%)
  • Ibuprofen / Advil
  • Irrigation syringe, 20cc with an 18-gauge tip
  • IV catheters
  • Laryngeal tube
  • Loperamide / Imodium
  • Miconazole
  • Moleskin, 5’’ x 2’’ strip
  • Mouthpiece for giving CPR
  • Nasopharyngeal airway
  • Needle and thread stored in isopropyl alcohol (2x needle / thread, 1x small container)
  • Pepto-Bismol pills
  • Plastic cling wrap, 2’’’ wide roll
  • Plastic films
  • Portable ventilators
  • Pressure dressing
  • Rolled gauze, standard 4.5’’ x 4 yards
  • Safety pins (3x, various sizes)
  • Saline eye-drops
  • Silk medical tape roll, 1’’ wide
  • Tourniquet
  • Trauma shears
  • Tweezers
  • White petroleum jelly / Vaseline in small container
  • Z-fold gauze, standard 45’’ x 4 yards

Civilian goods:

  • Civilian drones
  • GPS 
  • Satellite phones
  • Medical tactical backpacks
  • Walkie-talkies