Mighty Blog

Children’s Minnesota nurse rallies support for Ukraine

The devastating images and stories coming out of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have taken a toll on so many people around the world. For one Children’s Minnesota employee, the news hit home.

Tetiana (Tanya) Russell is a registered nurse on the neuroscience unit at our St. Paul campus. She grew up in Ukraine and she still has family and friends who live there, including her parents. As she watched Russia begin its invasion, Tanya wanted to do something to help. She found support from her friends and also her coworkers at Children’s Minnesota.

Growing up in Ukraine

Tanya grew up in Trostyanets, a community of 20,000 in eastern Ukraine where everyone was close and generous to one another. Her fondest memory is her parents love of gardening. “They always taught me how to grow a garden,” she said. However, her conversations with her parents became more heartbreaking after Russian forces moved in to occupy the city and use it as a base to fire missiles on larger Ukrainian cities.

For about a week, Tanya lost connection to her parents after the internet and electricity went out. She’s also heard of people living in apartments for weeks with no water or electricity. A few weeks ago, the city was liberated by the Ukrainian army. But, the damage to the city will likely take years to repair.

Overwhelming support

Tanya wanted to support her family and friends however she could, like taking extra shifts to raise more money. She then started raising money on Facebook. After getting approval from the patient care manager, she sent it around to the nurses on her floor, who had been asking how her family was doing and how they could help. The response was overwhelming.

“I was really happy for people sharing and asking me how to help. I’m still kind of new to Children’s Minnesota and I’m really lucky because the nurses on my floor are so amazing. I keep telling my manager and supervisor I have the best job in the world,” said Tanya.

Tanya said the donations made a difference for Ukrainians being directly affected by the war, including:

  • Funding a nurse’s mission to travel to Poland to help Ukrainian refugees.
  • Distributing free baby formula at a pharmacy in Trostyanets.
  • Fixing equipment and medical supplies for volunteers fighting to protect their city.
  • Allowing five single mothers of children with disabilities to buy food and medicine.
  • Helping women flee their home in Odessa with their children and elderly mothers by providing them the transportation and food needed to reach Poland.

At this time Tanya has stopped crowdfunding, but continues to do what she can to support her loved ones in Ukraine. Her sister fled with her daughters to Poland, with the goal for them to eventually seek refuge in France. Tanya’s parents decided to stay behind in their homeland.

Children’s Minnesota is working collaboratively with the Children’s Hospital Association and the international community to monitor and respond to needs of the pediatric population displaced by the fighting.

Nick Petersen