On the morning of April 20th, 2017, Clean Futures Fund co-founders Erik Kambarian and Lucas Hixson received a letter from General Director Igor Gramotkin at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant (ChNPP) in Ukraine. In this correspondence, General Director Gramotkin explained that he and ChNPP staff thought it was important to bring to our awareness “the existence of a large number of children in Slavutych, who need our help. Unfortunately, the problems of these children can not be handled by the community of Slavutych on their own, without support from outside organizations.”
The letter proposed that CFF coordinate efforts with ChNPP and the Slavutych community to try to address these problems, starting with a list of 32-children ages 2-17 with life-limiting medical conditions who urgently need our help. Erik and Lucas were so moved by the offer to partner with the Chernobyl power plant and the city of Slavutych to try and improve the lives and futures for these children – all of whom are second or third generation of the community since the disaster in 1986, that they started the Chernobyl Children’s Healthcare Program.
Erik and Lucas began developing a plan of action for how this support could best be provided. The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant assigned Dr. Viktoria Beznoschenko MD, a safety engineer and former pediatrician to collect medical data and information about the results of diagnosis and medical care available. Clean Futures Fund also established an Advisory Board of Medical Professionals to help review cases and provide insight into potential care options.
In August, 2017, Clean Futures Fund representatives began meeting with and interviewing the families in the worker-city of Slavutych and collecting information about each individual case.
By using a special questionnaire, Clean Futures Fund is able to collect information about family history and each child’s medical history to help us fully understand the issues each one of the children face and how we could best assist them.
By the end of August, Clean Futures Fund had released 19 financial support grants to provide funds for medical care.
In November, 2017, we returned to Slavutych to get updates from families that had been provided financial assistance in August, to meet with families of children that had required complicated medical treatments, and to provide a second-round of financial assistance/support grants. During our home visits, we were elated to observe noticeable improvements in each of the children that we had provided financial grants to in August.
In a meeting with Dr. Viktoria Beznoschenko and Deputy Director Shefer, CFF representatives were asked if we would consider expanding our care network to families with sick children in nearby Ivankiev, a second support-city for operations at the nuclear power plant and Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.
CFF co-founder Lucas Hixson attended a meeting in Ivankiev with representatives from Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, from the City of Slavutych administration and the Mayor of Ivankiev and representatives from the city administration, hospital and rehabilitation center. During this time, it was decided that Ivankiev and Slavutych would work together to establish better care for sick children in their cities and local region. Moreover, CFF accepted the proposal to expand the care network to include families in Ivankiev and work on establishing medical care and rehabilitation centers in the area. Our hopes are to reduce family burden and to increase medical coverage in the local area.