Zimmer frames, crutches and surgical boots left unused in lofts and garages around Barnet are just some of the surplus mobility aids which are being rounded up and sent off to help amputees injured in the war in Ukraine thanks to the efforts of a Friern Barnet pensioner.
Since Anne Mackiewicz started her appeals on social media, she has been heartened by the response she has received.
Medical equipment and supplies which have been donated and which she helps to gather together are being are sent off every month in deliveries organised by Michael Byrne of East Finchley who established the charity Driving Aid to Ukraine. https://drivingaidtoukraine.org/
In the garage at her home, Mrs Mackiewicz surveyed some of the medical aids donated over recent days including a Zimmer frame, two crutches, baby cots, children’s car seats and other items.
She regularly gathers together a wide array of medicines, clothes and equipment which are added to the consignments sent to hospitals in Ukraine which are being inundated with severely injured casualties, including tens of thousands of amputees.
There were 15,000 amputees in Ukraine in the first half of this year alone – that is more than the UK had in the six years of World War II when 12,000 servicemen and women lost limbs.
“We desperately need more medical aids, medicines, and specialist medical and first aid kits,” said Mrs Mackiewicz.
“Ukraine’s plight and the impact of the Russian invasion mustn’t be forgotten now that so much of the world’s attention is on the conflict between Israel and Hamas.”
Mrs Mackiewicz, who is nearly 80, said it was only by chance that she got involved in helping track down and collect unwanted mobility aids.
Although her husband was born in Poland, she had no connection with Ukraine but felt a desperate need to help after the Russian invasion.
“I started by giving money to Driving Aid to Ukraine to help the injured and displaced in Ukraine.
“Following their urgent appeal to assist an amputee rehabilitation hospital, I set about purchasing new clothing like T shirts, underwear, socks, and shorts to help these men. Medicines and toiletries are also required.
“Then I went online on social media to appeal for items like unwanted crutches, Zimmer frames, wheelchairs, commodes, and shower and toilet supports and almost immediately equipment started being donated.
“So far, I must have collected around 50 Zimmer frames, 60 crutches, ten wheelchairs and lots of commodes.
“People are always clearing out their lofts, garages, and spare rooms. Sometimes they don’t know what to do with the mobility aids which the NHS doesn’t want back. Well, there is a good home waiting for them all in Ukraine.”
Mrs Mackiewicz said another urgent need is for storage where these bulky items can be kept ready for despatch. “If anyone has an empty garage or other storage facility this would help Driving Aid to Ukraine enormously.”
So far there have been 17 deliveries of medical supplies and donated items organised through Driving Aid to Ukraine and the 18th is due to set off in mid- November.