A British equine veterinarian has made a 2500-mile round trip to the Ukrainian border with veterinary and medical supplies.
Till Hoermann, an equine vet from Rutland in Leicestershire recently completed the trip to the Ukrainian border, having been inspired to fill a van and trailer with veterinary supplies donated by his own practice and other equine vets. He was accompanied by a friend, Ian Horn, who shared the driving.
Hoermann had heard an interview on Radio 5 with Dr Dennis Ougrin and other doctors from the Ukrainian Medical Association, and asked himself what he could do to help.
“I realised a lot of the mobile veterinary equipment that we use out on the road may be useful for them so I started to make my plan.”
He emailed Ougrin, who sent a list of what was required. “We knew that some of the problem was actually getting supplies there, so we decided to plan our own road trip.”
A warehouse just off the A1 motorway acted as a central collection hub and many colleagues came forward with supplies, including six mobile ultrasound scanners, four mobile x-rays, one ECG, one CO2 monitor, operation lamps, respirator bags and drugs and supplies worth more than £4000.
The products were donated by equine veterinary practices, including Minster vVets York, Rainbow Equine, Town and Country Vets, Abbott Baker McVeigh, Tower Equine, Oakham Veterinary Hospital, Chine House, Rossdales, Newmarket Equine Hospital, Bells Equine and Hoermann’s clinic, Hörmann Equine. The van and fuel money was donated by Graham from Witham Garage in Melton. A fundraising page set up by Hörmann Equine six days ago has already raised more than £15,000, and will remain open for a few more days.
On his return last night, Hoermann said the supplies were exactly where they were needed, and he would remain in contact with the people receiving them.
“We know this is a small part of a much bigger picture but are so grateful for everyone’s support and encouragement – thank you.”
He said the funds raised so far enabled more medical supplies to be bought and would support the British Veterinary Professionals for Ukraine group founded by UK vet and second-generation Ukrainian Antonina (Nina) Babchuk.
“After we purchase more supplies this week anything left over will go to their funding as they’re going to take this on a bigger scale than we could have imagined.”
The British Veterinary Professionals for Ukraine group is aiding both human and veterinary surgeons working in the war zone and are sending supplies direct to where they are needed most.
“People just want to do something tangible,” Babchuk said. “We see horrific scenes on the television every day and when we hear from vets and medics on the ground that they don’t have the supplies they need, what can we do but try and get those supplies to them?
“We have been collecting physical donations from across the UK and are now establishing ways people can buy medical supplies in the UK that we take out to Ukraine. I am humbled by the support we have been receiving from vets in the UK, but there is so much more that they need out there.”
The group is filling three ambulances to leave today, and further shipments are planned for next week.
The efforts are being supported by Veterinary Voices UK and the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA). BEVA president-elect David Rendle said: “Initially I think we were all shocked and didn’t know if there was anything we could do that would have a tangible effect.
“However, through direct contact with medics and vets in Ukraine we now know that they need our help, especially through the provision of emergency medical equipment and consumable items. It is clear that the veterinary profession can make a difference by providing direct support, so I would urge everyone to do what they can to get behind this.”
Rendle has set up a fundraiser for British Veterinary Professionals for Ukraine, and the group is also keen to hear from any companies who are able to donate or subsidise medical supplies and from anyone who can help collect donations and move them to the central collection point in Oakham.
» Medical supplies can be sent to British Veterinary Professionals for Ukraine c/o Hörmann Equine, Wrights Lodge East, Oakham Road, Whissendine, Rutland, LE15 7HA or can be left at other collection centres across the country. Lists of what is needed or where it can be taken are available here. Alternatively, people can donate through the fundraising page