Project Wasserson

Since the beginning of the war Gary and Ellen Wasserson have woven together a vast network – a team of “angels”, to extract thousands of Ukrainians to safe havens in Poland, Slovakia, Moldova, and Western Europe. In addition, they and their team continue to provide humanitarian aid such as food, clothing, shelter, transportation, medical supplies, medical care, bullet proof vests and helmets for drivers, power sources (wood burning stoves, power banks and generators), and loving support (which is so important!) within Ukraine and to refugees in surrounding countries. They have arranged for hundreds of thousands of pounds of needed goods to be transported into Ukraine to help civilians impacted by war so that they can live a more comfortable life. Currently they support 57 refugees in Warsaw with the help of Polish “angels” Jagna and Jozef, who do the intensive caregiving.

In the spring of 2022 Ellen and Gary realized there was a great need for a summer camp for refugee children. They hatched their idea and sponsored it with the help of “angel” Gil.

The camp was orchestrated by another new friend and “angel”, Ewa, who created a truly magical summer experience for Ukrainian refugee children on the outskirts of Warsaw. Camp gave them a chance to be children and mothers the joy of seeing their children happy. It included making a community of friends, field trips, creating art and a stop motion animation video, science, animals, architecture, exploration, yoga, dance, juggling, hiking, playing in the river, lunch, fun, ice cream and hugs! First day of summer camp 2022:

The camp program ran for 8.5 weeks and accommodated 60 children. This year, they plan on expanding the camp to allow for many more children to attend and like last summer will offer Polish lessons to the mothers.

Gary and Ellen have always been concerned about the children of Ukraine and the healthcare that would be required for those affected by war. As a result, they initiated a program with the main hospital campus in Kielce, Poland and created a communication network among children’s hospitals in Poland, Ukraine, Israel, England, Germany, Belgium, and the US. As a result, many children have been helped using telemedicine to determine whether further services would be needed and where they could best be provided.

They have shipped life-saving medicines and devices to Ukraine when specific needs arose. For example, a recent call from the Children’s Hospital in Kyiv was received. They needed a specific medication to save the lives of two newborn children. With the help of the medical group in Kielce, they were able to get these life-saving drugs to the hospital in Ukraine, in time to help those children survive.

In addition, the Wasserson’s have assisted many Ukrainian adult patients find hospitals outside of Ukraine, that helped them with their medical needs.

Recently, the Wasserson’s brought a Ukrainian soldier to the United States. His legs were in such bad condition that in Ukraine it was determined that a dual amputation might be necessary. After an investigation for another option, the Wasserson‘s transported the soldier, Vlad Orlov, to The Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York. He has already undergone numerous procedures with more to come, but there is a strong expectation that he will someday be able to walk again.

Inspired by Vlad’s predicament, Gary and Ellen have become deeply involved with the group, Save A Limb (ICF, Health of the Ukrainian People), a Ukraine based group comprised of orthopedic surgeons. They are working to upgrade the supply chain and infrastructure requirements, allowing many people to receive the medical care which will help them avoid amputation. To that end, the Wasserson’s have been pushing for major medical companies to donate the needed supplies necessary to effectuate successful procedures, saving limbs for the thousands of civilians and military personnel impacted by this brutal war. For those who have had amputations, the Wasserson’s are involved with the Protez Foundation to bring the latest technology in prosthetics to those Ukrainians in need.

An important side note and for transparency, the Wassersons pay for their own travel, food, hotels and back-office expense from their own money. Every penny of donations received goes directly into the hands of the people who are receiving the aid. They vet as best as they can to avoid middlemen, black market etc. As anyone who knows Gary, he is very good at getting the most for his money and it is wisely spent!