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A Ukrainian soldier may lose a limb, but will never lose the support of UNBROKEN

Nov 9, 2023 | Featured, Community

Volodymyr Rudkovsky at the the National Rehabilitation Center UNBROKEN in Lviv. Photo: CUF

Unbroken and CUF.

A fighter, who was ready to die with honor for Ukraine and his newborn daughter, now holds her in his arms again. His wife and baby supported him during his treatment and prosthetic fitting at the National Rehabilitation Center UNBROKEN in Lviv.

Volodymyr Rudkovsky, 31 years old, from the town of Sarny in the Rivne Region, has dedicated his life to charity and the promotion of sports. At the beginning of the full-scale invasion, he worked in the press office of the city council. In the first months of the full-scale invasion, he volunteered for military service. Later, however, he realized that it wasn’t enough, and entered the military recruitment office to fulfill the legacy of his ancestors: “I only thought of it as a historical battle. We’ve been fighting with them not for 100, not for 200, but for 300 years. And if God wants me to die in this great battle, I will die with honor”.

A few days before he was sent to the front, Volodymyr became a father for the first time. For the first few months of his daughter’s life, he could only see her through the screen of his mobile phone during short breaks between battles in the counteroffensive on the Zaporizhzhya front. One night, just before another attack on enemy positions, Volodymyr’s wife sent him a message, worried about their daughter who had been crying all night. “My Rada usually sleeps well at night, and she has never cried at night before. But this night she had a tantrum until 4 in the morning. I didn’t understand what was happening to our child. And at some point I sent a message to Volodia. I’m telling you, I’m getting chills just thinking about it,” said his loving wife.

A few hours later, Volodymyr, by then a company commander, saved a wounded comrade, got caught in the crossfire, and lost half a foot. He humorously describes the moment: “I looked down and saw that my fingers were gone. I thought, ‘Wow! Cool! I’ll probably get a prosthetic.’ But the situation took a strange turn. They saved my buddy’s leg, but they amputated mine. That’s how it works”.

At the UNBROKEN Center, Volodymyr underwent the process of prosthetic fitting. Here they performed a reamputation, a procedure that many patients who have lost limbs go through. After the reamputation, Volodymyr recovered quickly. He attended not only the mandatory rehabilitation sessions with specialists, but also all the extra sessions.

“For us, the 300 wounded, UNBROKEN provides excellent support: both physical and psychological. They take care of us from morning to night. In the first days of rehabilitation, my schedule was from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. And in just two weeks, I felt like I had two legs again,” Volodymyr says. Today, he has an advanced functional prosthesis and is walking with it. His wife and daughter, who temporarily moved to Lviv to be closer to their husband and father, are accompanying him on his road to recovery.Volodymyr is convinced that “the blood of great ancestors flows in the veins of Ukrainians, and the current generation is obliged to finish what their ancestors couldn’t – to finally defeat the enemy”.

Many injured Ukrainians, both military personnel and civilians, are taken from the frontlines to the UNBROKEN Centre in Lviv every week to receive specialized medical care, including reconstructive surgery, physical rehabilitation, and prosthetics care. The National Rehabilitation Centre UNBROKEN, which is already providing orthopedics services, burn care, prosthetics manufacturing and fitting, reconstructive operations, physical therapy, and mental health treatment to children and adults, hopes to increase their scope. With millions of internally displaced Ukrainians—over 11,000 of these requiring prosthetics—there is a lack of adequate health care in the country able to keep up with the demand.

In October of 2023, the UNBROKEN Center received a generous the grant from the Canada-Ukraine Foundation (CUF) and Ukrainian Canadian Congress’ (UCC) joint project, the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal (UHA). Now the UNBROKEN Centre will be able to purchase specialized equipment, such as treadmills, treatment tables, and complex rehabilitation systems for their patients. Additionally, the grant will go towards the training of healthcare workers to further their skills in prosthetic care, reconstructive surgery, and rehabilitation. The training will allow 10 medical professionals to travel to the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto for 2 weeks, while hundreds of others will be given the opportunity to join online sessions related to their respective fields.

The grant will allow the UNBROKEN Centre to treat more than 120 people with inpatient rehabilitation, as well as 660 people receiving outpatient care monthly—totaling over 9,000 annually. After experiencing horrific trauma, both physical and mental, thousands of injured Ukrainians will be able to recover near their families within their home country.
Two fundraisers were held in recent months to support the project “UNBROKEN”.

On July 15, an event called Art-Edude was held at the Montreal Art Centre to benefit the “UNBROKEN” Rehabilitation Centre through the CUF-UCC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. As a result, $6,200 were donated to the Canada-Ukraine Foundation for this project.

Currently, the City of Winnipeg is holding a fundraiser for UNBROKEN Centre to mark the 50th anniversary of its sistership with Lviv, Ukraine.

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