Canadians Care Collective raises $100 Million of Medical Supplies for Ukraine
TORONTO, March 10, 2023 – On the heels of the one-year anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine, Canadians are stepping up to help the people of that ravaged country. It was an urgent phone call and a cry for help that inspired Tracey Burton to have Canadians Care Collective (CCC) coordinate the donation of over $100 million of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals for Ukraine.
“Last March, I received a call from my twin sister Tammy (Isa) saying that one of her employees, Rim (Rimantas) Budrys, had sent an email asking if anyone could donate medications from their medicine cabinet as he was prepared to buy a plane ticket and take the medications to Poland where they would be sent to Ukraine,” explains Tracey Burton, Co-Founder of CCC. “She asked for my help and three days later CCC reunited for this cause. CCC was originally founded during Covid to raise money to help restaurants and front-line health workers in the Markham – Stouffville area. We are not a registered charity but are a simply a group of concerned citizens who heeded a cry for help.”
Rim never had to buy that plane ticket as CCC stepped in to help. In just under a year, they have coordinated the donation of over $33 million (approximately $100 million retail) in medicines and medical supplies for Ukraine.
“The medications and medical supplies are being delivered to Ukraine hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices and directly to the front lines,” states Tracey. “There are a documented 200,000 active Ukrainians fighting in the war and there’s a desperate need for medicine, medical supplies and equipment. For example, with our partners Health Partners International Canada and Webber Naturals, we were able to secure enough vitamin C for 76,000 soldiers and hope to acquire more to provide to the rest of the soldiers fighting in Ukraine.”
Tracey is a retired ICU nurse who now works as a mobility personal trainer. “With a background in nursing, I decided to help medical personnel look after patients in Ukraine.”
With her proven track record in fundraising, Tracey started calling friends and family to raise cash to buy medications and pay the cost of shipping those supplies to Ukraine. She then eventually set her sights on pharmaceutical companies to see if they could help by either donating medicine and supplies or providing them at a reduced price.
“I reached out to my friend Nancy Simonot, the founder of specialty pharmacy company NKS Health, to help and then partnered with the Rotary Club of Markham Sunrise, since they are a registered charity, as we wanted to see people get tax receipts for their donations. The CCC team consists of Tammy and I, Nancy Simonot, Rim, and the Markham Rotary Club Foundation. We are being helped by a wide group of volunteers, not for profit organizations and corporate partners, who are working together to deliver these urgently needed supplies to Ukraine,” said Burton.
“We have people in Canada and on the ground in Ukraine telling us what is needed. We have been able to secure a proven supply chain from Canada to Ukraine through relationships with various pharmaceutical companies and charities like HPIC, which is the only charity licensed by Health Canada to handle donated medicines.”
“Our approach is to secure in-kind donations and to use the funds we raise online and at events to pay for the costs of auditing and shipping these donations. We recently received over $30 million (wholesale cost) worth of dexamethasone (Apotex), 14 pallets of emergency meds (Pharmascience) and 30 pallets of vitamins (Webber Naturals) and now need to raise funds to pay to ship these to Ukraine. Through HPIC, we have already sent $2.6 million, or 80 pallets, of anesthesiology drugs which were donated by Hikma Pharmaceuticals and $76,000 worth of re-usable surgical gowns which were donated by ICP Canada Inc,” Burton explained.
“When we started, we were trying to raise $25,000,” states Tracey. “Now, with our partners, we are planning to send over $100 million in medical aid to Ukraine,” states Tracey. “What is happening in Ukraine is awful and they need our help. I am so grateful to all the individuals and companies that are helping us. Helping others is where my passion is. I don’t feel special—I am just doing what I have always done; bringing people together to help others in need.
For more information or to donate to help support the people of Ukraine with medical supplies, visit the Rotary Club of Markham Sunrise at [email protected] or https://portal.clubrunner.ca/1136/Stories/2022-2023-ukraine-medical-supplies-fundraising and apply your donation to: “Medical Supplies for Ukraine” or contact Tracey Burton or Jon Stevens at [email protected]
by Laurie Wallace-Lynch
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