BILLINGS — One Billings doctor is embarking on a 10-day medical journey to aid refugees at the Polish/Ukrainian border.
Dr. Olga Lutsyk will be returning to her homeland for a mission very close to her heart.
“I came to the United States as a religious refugee in 1993. I came because as a Christian, I was not able to even finish high school,” said Lutsyk.
Lutsyk has family still residing in Ukraine.
“First few days of the war, they were very scared,” said Lutsyk.
Her brother, aunt, niece, and other family members in the country have seen the worst.
“They called and they said, 'Aunt Olga, they’re bombing us, our hospital is destroyed.' They were very scared. They were basically saying goodbye,” Lutsyk said.
Lutsyk says the men in her family were given weapons to protect their families. Now she’s headed back home to help in any way she can.
“When I heard what’s going on in Ukraine, I believe God just called me, you know, I had that piece of, I have to go there, I have to do what I can do,” Lutsyk said.
She’ll be aiding refugees with non-profit Crisis Response International.
“As a physician, I hope that I will be able to provide medical care to Ukrainian refugees, but I will do whatever needs to be done to help people in crisis. Doctoring, counseling, praying, helping, I don’t know, washing toilets, whatever needs to be done, I will do it,” Lutsyk said.
St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation and SCL Health are doing what they can to support Lutsyk and her cause.
“The hospital is donating medical supplies,” said Tyler Wiltgen, executive director of the St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation.
Lutsyk is taking three 50 pound bags of medical supplies with her on the plane. Three pallets of supplies will follow her to the Ukrainian Polish border as well.
A pharmacy in Billings, Pharm406, also donated medical supplies to aid the mission.
She knows this trip will be emotionally taxing and even dangerous. Her family worries, especially her youngest daughter, 15-year-old Sarah.
“She’s literally scared, when they were attacked, she had tears in her eyes. But she said, mom, I want you to go, I want you to help people,” Lutsyk said.
Lutsyk says she has to go, at a time when her family and homeland need it most.
“I know that God will protect me, that it’s what I’m supposed to do. So if he will not cease the fire, he will save me through the fire,” Lutsyk said.
If you would like to donate to Dr. Olga Lutsyk’s cause, visit St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation | SCL Health | Billings, MT. Write “Dr. Olga Lusyk” in the comment section when you donate, and 100% of those proceeds will go to her mission.