JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — The war in Ukraine is nearing 100 days as Russian forces continue to advance into the country.
Many people see the tragedy and ask, “how can I help?” One doctor from Johnson City packed her bags and medical kit, to answer that question.
“We were initially a little scared before we left, but we went prayerfully and felt very called to be there. So, we really weren’t,” said Dr. Sabrina Miller, a physician at State of Franklin Healthcare Associates.
“We did hear the air raid sirens most of the nights we were there, but we were in a safe building,” she added.
Miller, an internal medicine specialist, traveled to Ukraine through New Horizons for Children, a non-profit organization that has been on the ground for decades in Ukraine providing help for children in need.
Since the onset of war in February, many orphans have been relocated to the western portion of the country, deemed safer. The children are not only lacking a home, but also access to basic medical care that is desperately needed.
“The care is critical. I think additionally they just need love and support,” said Miller. “Communication, verbally speaking, was limited. Granted, we were able to smile and touch and care for them to let them know they are loved.”
Helping treat a number of ailments, Miller’s time in Ukraine was spent healing rashes, treating stomach bugs, lice, worms and infections among other things.
The gratitude was clear on the smiling faces of children enduring so much.
“One of the boys said, ‘Why would you come all the way here to care for us?’ Just to be able to look him the eyes and say, ‘You are not forgotten, you are loved, God loves you, we are here to care for you.’ That stuck with me,” Miller said.
Miller says New Horizons has now established 22 Safe Havens for more than a thousand orphans in the Western part of the country, a temporary refuge in time of war.
She went to six of those sites while in Ukraine.
“These children are coming with nothing. They’ve lived in suboptimal locations and are transferring from the other side of the country. Some of the children, we were told, when they got there they didn’t even have shoes on their feet,” said Miller.
Miller is a mother of six children, her own large family was built in part through adoption. She says she was inspired to go to Ukraine after hosting an orphan from Ukraine in her own home over Christmas through New Horizons. When she saw the outbreak of war, she knew she had to act.
“We fell in love with her, we fell in love with her country and her culture. When all of this turmoil and tragedy developed in February, our hearts were broken for the country. It really was the perfect opportunity to use medicine as an avenue to alleviate some of the suffering they are enduring.”
Now back in the U.S. from her medical mission, Miller knows the work is far from over. She hopes to spread awareness about the work New Horizons is accomplishing and encourage donations or involvement from community members.
Miller says she is working to plan another medical mission back to Ukraine soon.
For more information about New Horizons for Children and they work they are doing in Ukraine, click this link.