Hospice Ukraine Charity Launch Event
On 6th June 2023 we held an amazing sell-out live event and dinner at the Royal Society of Medicine in the heart of London’s West End. A far cry from the devasting turmoil that our friends in Ukraine are suffering every single day, and extremely necessary to introduce people to our charity, to how palliative care works in Ukraine, and, most importantly, to raise as much money as possible, enabling us to purchase much needed medical equipment for our partner hospices in Lviv and Kyiv.
A staggering . . . £60,285.53 was raised by the end of what was an incredibly moving, uplifting and fun evening.
The RSM kindly donated the use of their gorgeous premises in central London and an anonymous benefactor covered the costs of the event so that all money raised could go directly to Hospice Ukraine.
The evening started with our co-founder Rachel talking about why palliative care matters so much in the UK, around the world, but particularly in Ukraine as they suffer the unimaginable during the current conflict. Not only are the usual cases of cancer patients and other terminally ill people in the community in need of expert palliative care, but also soldiers and civilians injured on the front line with fatal war wounds. Now more than ever is the perfect time to help in any way that we can.
During her talk, Rachel shared pictures from her first visit to Lviv and Kyiv in October 2022, when she and co-founder and Trustee Henry Marsh visited Ukraine to meet up with our final co-founder Andrii Myzak, to see for themselves the country’s palliative care teams in action. Their aim was to find out exactly what was needed and to highlight hospices which were desperate for immediate help. They nominated Sambir Hospice in Lviv and a mobile hospice unit in Kyiv as the charity’s first two partners.
Rachel was incredibly moved by the devastation the war is wreaking on the population of Ukraine – the photo boards in the picture above were in a small church she stumbled across near Sambir Hospice, of every man or woman from the region killed in the conflict, along with faces of bereaved children.
She saw teenage boys in military uniforms, not much older than her own son, sitting around in town squares drinking coffee, while waiting to go to fight for their country.
Not to mention Rachel's, Henry’s and Andrii’s extraordinary evacuation to an under-
ground bomb shelter as shells were going off all around them.
Jeremy Hunt MP Adam Kay
Several eminent speakers were invited to talk, including Jeremy Hunt MP – Rachel’s nemesis from her politically active time during the Junior Doctors strike of 20XX – and Adam Kay, who read a moving passage from his award-winning book ‘This is Going to Hurt’ about spending all night sitting with a mother with terminal cancer and the importance of palliative care.
David Nott Henry Marsh Vadim
There were live interviews with David Nott from the Nott Foundation and Henry Marsh, followed by a wonderful performance from a Ukrainian a capella folk music all-women group ‘Vadim’ who had sung in the Royal Albert Hall just the week before. There wasn’t a dry eye in the audience after their very moving performance.
Finally, the real purpose of the evening to raise funds for Hospice Ukraine began with a slap-up dinner and live auction with some incredible generously donated prizes:
* Original piece of work by Grayson Perry *
* Bottle of whiskey signed by the last 8 PM (donated by Theresa May) *
* Signed print & first editions of books by Philip Pullman *
* CD signed by Leonard Cohen *
* Dinner with Mary Beard *wine tasting with Jane MacQuitty the Times wine critic *
* Cricket bat signed by Sachin Tendulkar, regarded as the greatest batsman in cricket history *
* Guitar signed by Sting! *
An incredible evening, an amazing turnout, an eye-watering £60,285.53 raised for which we are truly grateful.
We are humbled by the generosity from all our supporters on the night, which continues to this day.