Author’s Note: The article you are about to read tells the story of one of Ukraine’s heroes, Dr. Tetyana Bilinski. Originally from Lutsk, Volyn Oblast, Tetyana—trained as an anesthesiologist—has devoted herself to the service of her country. Now, because of Russia’s use of chemical warfare in blatant disregard of the Geneva Convention, this selfless doctor lies in intensive care, desperately in need of a liver transplant to save her life. The surgery cannot take place until the money to pay for it is available. While some funds have been raised to provide for her needs, they fall far short of the 150,000 Euros (almost $170,000) necessary for her treatment. If you would like to support Tetyana with a monetary gift in any amount, please note the information at the end of this article.
From the first days of the Maidan protests, Tetyana Bilinski was actively involved. She was there when peaceful protesters were beaten by the Berkut (riot police), and she was there as the violence escalated during the hardest days in February 2014, when police opened fire, killing dozens and injuring more than a thousand. Through it all, she—along with other members of the group Maidan Doctors—was there to serve the injured.
In March 2014, Tetyana suffered a heart attack. Once she had recovered her strength, she returned home to Volyn. While there, she learned about “Hippokrat,” a volunteer quick response unit of Ukrainian doctors serving near the front lines. As a member of this organization, she traveled southeast to work in Pisky in the Donetsk Oblast, near the Donetsk Airport. Several times, she evacuated wounded soldiers from the line of fire and saved “Cyborgs” who were defending the airport.
On one occasion while Tetyana worked at the airport, the Ukrainian Army positions came under artillery bombardment from a Buratino weapons system. The Buratino (http://www.military-today.com/artillery/tos1.htm) is a Russian multiple rocket launcher that fires 220 mm shells. It is not used by the Ukrainian army and first appeared in Eastern Ukraine in mid-January 2015. Some of the shells fired by the Buratino were canisters containing an unknown toxic substance. These chemical weapons, forbidden by international treaty, injured many fighters; they also severely injured Tetyana, who is in danger of dying soon if she does not receive a liver transplant.
At first, Tetyana resigned herself to a quiet struggle for her life, declining to ask for help. “Who do I think I am?” she asked. “I’m simply Tania from Lutsk. I’m no hero; the heroes are those found at the front lines. All I did was perform my obligations as a doctor, faithful to the Hippocratic Oath.” However, after information about Tetyana was posted on social media, Ukrainians responded eagerly: Veterans groups and the Volyn Oblast provided a well-equipped ambulance; Cyborgs and Lutsk national guardsmen have donated, as have school children and ordinary Ukrainian citizens. Help has also come from beyond Ukraine’s borders: Georgians, Italians, Canadians, and others have contributed, and the town of Debrecen, Hungary has hosted Tetyana while awaiting her operation. Despite these efforts, Tetyana remains tens of thousands of dollars short of the amount needed, and time is quickly running out. For the time being, her treatment has been stalled until enough funds can be raised.
If you would like to participate in saving the life of this humble Ukrainian heroine, there are a variety of options:
* PrivatBank: Tetyana Bilinski’s contact information for financial contributions: PrivatBank: 4731 2171 1038 7485 c/o Bosko, Hanna Lavrentiivna (Mother)
* Belgium account: May 12, 2015: The following information is from Tetiana’s sister, Svitlana Vanhove, who lives in Belgium. Per her Facebook post: “Tetyana Bilinski is my sister. At the end of January she worked as a volunteer-doctor in the region of Donetsk airport taking care of the wounded. She was poisoned by gasses, and as a result she has Badd-Chiary syndrom, which affects the liver. Without urgent treatment she would be terminal. Luckily the whole Ukraine is trying to gather the money for her operation. Now thanks to the generosity of the Ukrainian people, she is being treated in Hungary. It would be simply wonderful, if over here people would also contribute for her liver operation. I don’t want my sister to die!!!!
The special account number in Belgium is BE06 0017 5558 5822 in of Vanhove-Vanhove, add “For Tetyana Bilinski” as a message. Please share this too. My family and I are grateful in advance.”