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December 23

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On June 16, the Go to the Future charity run in support of Ukrainian soldiers  with amputations took place on VDNG

On June 16, the Go to the Future charity run in support of Ukrainian soldiers with amputations took place on VDNG

21.06.2024

The rain on Sunday morning in Kyiv did not stop active Ukrainians from joining the charity run in support of the soldiers who lost their limbs in the Russian-Ukrainian war, and now are adapting to a new life with a prosthesis. On June 16, Kyiv residents and guests of the city, along with the American partners of the event and Ukrainian military with prostheses, united to create a new culture of social attitude towards the possibilities of people with prostheses, and to show that amputation is not a limit, and after prosthetics a person can even run!

The Go to the Future charity run was initiated by the Future for Ukraine (FFU) foundation and financially supported by the Pfizer Foundation and the King Baudouin Foundation United States. The medical partner of the event is the Medical Center Orthotics & Prosthetics(MCOP) clinic, which has provided high-quality prosthetics for American veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for more than 15 years, and now helps the Ukrainian severely wounded soldiers within the framework of the rehabilitation and prosthetics program of the FFU foundation. 

More than 1,000 people joined the race. These are professional runners, running enthusiasts, famous people from showbiz and other active Ukrainians who wanted to show their support for defenders with amputations. Anyone willing could overcome a distance of 5 km, 2 km or 600 m on the running alley under the linden trees at VDNG. Or join the race online from worldwide. There was also a children's distance of 200 m and 400 m provided. 

On the picture from the left to right — Olena Nikolaienko from FFU, Mike Corcoran, Ian Fothergill and Farhad Ostovari from MCOP. 

"The idea of ​​a race with prosthetic soldiers arose during the work of our Medical help direction. When a person loses a limb, he goes through a difficult emotional period. At this point we have to stand on these people’s side, and together show society that they are worthy to return to an active life, and the disability status after amputation is only a conclusion written on paper. They can live a full-fledged life, and even run," said Olena Nikolayenko, president of the FFU in the United States and volunteer curator of strategy and development for the FFU International.

The sport charity event kicked off with a 400m relay, featuring soldiers with prosthetics, famous people from the Ukrainian showbiz and opinion leaders. Five teams were named by the callsigns of the veteran members of the relay: Petro Kulyk — "Kovel", Yevhen Udovenko — "Udav", Vladyslav Kurilov — "Monaco", Denys Yermuratskyi — "Wakanda" and Oleksandr Chaika — "Chaika".

Thus, in the Wakanda team, the frontman of the rock band O.Torvald Jenia Galich  ran the relay with Denys Yermuratskyi. 

On the photo from the left to right — Denys and Jenia after the 400 m relay 

Denys recently underwent prosthetics and rehabilitation at the MCOP clinic in Washington. He has only been wearing the prosthesis for a month, and admits that it’s tough so far. However, the Go to the Future race gave a strong motivation for Denys. "I see the opportunities offered by prosthetics. So I will actively master it," the defender shared his thoughts. 

Eugen Udovenko (call sign — Udav) has been wearing a prosthesis for a year. A few days before the race, during training from the physiotherapy in Kyiv by MCOP specialists, a serviceman was fitted with a running prosthesis so that he could participate in the team relay. And he managed it perfectly!

Eugen Udovenko is passing the 400 m relay on his new running prosthetic 

Dr. Farhad Ostovari, clinical director at MCOP, who also ran the 5 km race with his colleagues, was amazed at how quickly the soldier mastered the new prosthesis. "Just look at Eugen, he was fitted with a running prosthesis a few days ago, and he is already running faster than everyone else on this pace! That is why we are here in Kyiv with the MCOP team — to help Ukrainians who lost limbs in the war to regain their possibilities to actively move," Dr. Ostovari shared his impressions.

On the picture from the left tot right — Farhad Ostovari and Ian Fothergill at the 5 km race 

Famous Ukrainian people also ran the relay with the veterans. Among them — singers TAYANNA, Zlata Ognevich, ROXOLANA, Hanna Zavalska, Tember Blanche vocalist Sasha Ganapolska, presenter Nikita Dobrynin and musician Philipp Kolyadenko. 

Before the 5-kilometer and 2-kilometer races, trainers from the EBSH sport hub of functional training conducted a collective exercise for all participants. 

A collective warm-up before the Go to the Future charity race. 

The 5 km race participants started first, followed by the 2 km. In the crowd before the start, you could meet both professional runners, and running enthusiasts, and even those who did it for the first time for the important purpose of supporting military amputees. Next to the civilians, the prosthetic soldiers covered the distance.

Serhii Khrapko, a veteran of the Russian-Ukrainian war, was wounded back in 2015. Serhii has a double amputation of his left arm and leg. He leads an active life, completes half-marathons, visits severely wounded soldiers in hospitals and inspires them not to give up by his example. Confidently passing the 2 km race, Serhii shared his impressions of the event:

"I received a prosthesis back in 2016, when our society knows nothing about prosthetics, and the number of people who could share their personal experience amounted to zero. And I personally know how it’s like to have questions but no answers. Therefore, events like today are significant not only for soldiers with amputations, but also for public awareness!”. 

The RestoRun Team also joined the race in support of the wounded soldiers. Among them —  044 city cafe, Ulyublenyi Dyadya, Milk Bar, Good Girl, Win Bar, Borysov Gastro Family, The Burger, The Cake, LoggerHead, Maria cafe from Kyiv and MAD BAR's HOUSE from Lviv.

EBSH restaurant team parring the 2 km race 

At 12:00, the children's race for 200 m by 400 m started. Each participant received a finisher's medal. 

Children's race for 400 m at the Go to the Future charity run 

The youngest ones also joined the race to support the defenders. 

After the race, presenter Nikita Dobrynin conducted functional training exclusively for the Go to the Future event’s participants for a donation for the prosthetics and rehabilitation of military personnel with complex amputation cases, provided by the FFU foundation. 

Also, at the location, there were held yoga classes and a tea ceremony for adults. Children could practice jumping on trampolines with a trainer for a donation, attend a creative workshop and a master class in acrobatics from a veteran with a prosthesis Oleksandr Chaika. 

During the Go to the Future charity event, we managed to collect almost UAH 300,000 for prosthetics and rehabilitation for the Ukrainian veterans with complex cases of amputations. We are sincerely grateful to everyone who attended the race and showed their support for our heroes!

We thank our partners for their help in implementing the event:

  • The main partner of the FFU foundation for prosthetics and rehabilitation of the Ukrainians — Medical Center Orthotics & Prosthetics (MCOP)
  • Granting support — Pfizer Foundation and King Baudouin Foundation United States 
  • Main media partner — TyKyiv lifestyle media 
  • Location providing and assistance — the National Complex "Expocenter of Ukraine" (VDNG)
  • Organizer of the charity race — Character Sport
  • The main sports partner —  EBSH functional training hub
  • Financial support — International IT company Ciklum. 

We would also thank TM "Morshynska" for providing water and lemonade for the race’s participants, TM "FIZI" for tasty and healthy bars for everyone, pharmaceutical company ACINO for dietary supplements and Franz Audio for professional technical support of the event.

We thank the following companies who participated in the race with a team:

JSC "Ukreximbank", Kyiv Police Headquarters, ISolar, Ajax, ArtCraft, Milk bar,
Esper Bionics, Kernel, Toronto, Borysov Gastro Family, Adidas Runners, Ciklum, Arzinger, InterContinental Hotel, Cambridge language school, EVO, Ibis Hotel, Bandacf, Energym, Carlsberg and Spin stancia.

We are incredibly excited that the idea of ​​the Go to the Future race finally turned into reality! Despite the heavy rain, more than 1,000 Ukrainians attended the event! And this is a good indication that society is eager for change and ready to help our defenders with amputations adapt to civilian life with a prosthesis. After all, forming a new culture of attitude towards people with prostheses is our prior task today.

 

Future For Ukraine[email protected]