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By Susan R. Eisenstein
Marta Shedletsky is a yoga therapist and health coach, operating Mushika Wellness Solutions in Yorktown Heights.
Shedletsky was born in Poland. Most of her family, including an adult son and her mother, still live there. Her grandparents survived World War II, and her paternal grandfather, Jan Wesolowski, survived five years of Nazi concentration camps.
Shedletsky still remembers her grandparents talking about “dary,” the gifts from America. She knows firsthand how important help from the outside is.
And so, the horrific events affecting people caught in the Russia-Ukraine war, speak deeply to her.
“Poland is a country that borders with Ukraine and most of the refugees end up there,” Shedletsky said. “At the moment Poland is hosting over two million Ukrainian refugees, mostly women and children. They often don’t want to go any further hoping to soon come back to their homes or rebuild their homes and lives. Like most of the Polish people, my family is involved in helping Ukrainians in Poland in various ways.”
Shedletsky decided to use her talent as a yoga therapist and yoga teacher and schedule a series of donation-based classes, where all proceeds go to help Ukraine. She started this venture last month at the Jefferson Valley Mall, holding donation-based classes on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. in the space next to T-Mobile.
“The mall doesn’t charge me for the room, so it’s really 100 percent of what people donate,” Shedletsky said. “And people are generous.”
She intends to continue as long as it is needed and people are willing to help.
Shedletsky also leads a monthly meditation circle via Zoom. This session is free or by donation, and the donations through the rest of this month have been dedicated to help the war-torn country.
An owner of another yoga studio in town contacted her to do another donation-based class for Ukraine. The Polish community of Putnam County is also going to help in the efforts. A major drive is being organized, and a portion of the donations raised will go to a hospital in Kharkiv.
Since shipping supplies to Poland is expensive, Shedletsky’s initial idea was to send the collected money to Poland or to buy whatever was needed online and have the supplies delivered to Polish Red Cross distribution centers.
However, she soon learned that there were items that were difficult, if not impossible, to get in Poland and Ukraine, such as hemorrhage pressure bands, tactical combat-grade first aid kits, compression bandages, tourniquets and pain medications. She made an Amazon list and started sharing.
“I have to say that my yoga and Polish communities responded beautifully,” Shedletsky said.
A friend of hers. Renata Wild-Olszewski, a William Raveis Real Estate associate broker, organized a collection within her company.
“With all these combined efforts, we have been able to send two shipments of over $2,000 worth of first aid kits, trauma wound dressings and similar items to Poland from where they will be delivered to Ukraine,” she said.
Shedletsky recently learned that a Ukrainian friend is also collecting medical supplies for Hospital #4 in Kharkiv. Her friend’s daughter works as an emergency room nurse there. So Shedletsky joined that collection, and everything that she collects will now go to that hospital.
Since Kharkiv is an active war zone, the supplies are shipped to Lviv in western Ukraine, which is still fairly accessible and not being bombed regularly, she said. From there a brave soul drives a minivan to Kharkiv.
Shedletsky recently received a detailed list of what is needed and what cannot be obtained by regular citizens. Only medical professionals and businesses can acquire certain supplies such as Central Venous Catheters Certofix (Central Line Kit); Cricothyrotomy Kits; Tracheostomy Cannulas with cuff, Diameter 8.0; Pediatric Catheters (sizes 2, 3, 4, 5); Foley Catheters with bags (sizes 18, 20) NG; and Nasogastric feeding tubes preferably with Applix pump set.
She is hoping to connect with those who have access to these supplies and are able to buy these life-saving items that are unavailable in Ukraine.
Anyone who would like to help in the donation effort, may contact Marta Shedletsky at email@example.com.
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