Scot to deliver maternity kits to Ukraine before charity cycle back to UK

Scot to deliver maternity kits to Ukraine before charity cycle back to UK
Andrea Fraser is to deliver maternity equipment before riding back to the UK to raise money (Tony Marsh for Baby Lifeline/PA)

A woman has set herself a mission to deliver maternity equipment to Ukraine before cycling more than a thousand miles back to the UK to raise funds for charity.

Andrea Fraser, from Struy, near Inverness, will fly from the UK to Krakow, Poland, on Wednesday where she will pick up £17,000 worth of essential maternity kit.

The 30-year-old human rights lawyer, based in Edinburgh, will then drive the supplies to the Ukraine border in a first responder vehicle to deliver them to local volunteers, who will distribute them to hospitals and makeshift shelters across the country.

Ms Fraser will then begin a gruelling 1,250-mile bike ride back from Lviv in Ukraine to the UK to raise funds for Baby Lifeline, the UK charity providing the maternity equipment.

Andrea Fraser will deliver equipment and a responder vehicle before cycling back to the UK (Tony Marsh for Baby Lifeline/PA)

Commenting on the journey ahead, Ms Fraser said: “It’s going to be tough, I know that, but I have to do something to draw attention to the ongoing human suffering caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the need for continued public support for organisations like Baby Lifeline, which is working closely with the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB) to provide the equipment needed to help safely deliver babies in the most difficult circumstances.

“The Russian onslaught has stepped up once again, and, with winter is fast approaching, I am haunted by thoughts of what innocent and vulnerable civilians, including pregnant women and birthing people, are set to go through.

“Can you imagine being forced to give birth in a war zone, separated from family, without adequate pain relief, in the freezing cold, surrounded by the sound of missiles and artillery fire?

“I could easily feel daunted about driving to the Ukrainian border, and what will be the longest bike ride of my life through four foreign countries, but it is nothing compared to what the people of Ukraine go through on a daily basis.

“Instead, I am focussing on them and the need to get them lifesaving equipment, as soon as possible.”

The Baby Lifeline specialist birth bags, as well as defibrillators, foetal dopplers, personal protective equipment (PPE), stretchers and blankets will be used to help safely deliver babies born in the aftermath of Sunday’s devastating Russian attacks.

Regional police reported 13 people had been killed and more than 60 wounded in the latest Zaporizhzhia attack on Sunday, at least 10 of them children, according to the Associated Press news agency.

The vehicle Ms Fraser is driving to the Ukraine border is one of Baby Lifeline’s first responder cars, which has been kitted out with the equipment that paramedics require to treat casualties and deliver babies.

Once her mission is finished, the vehicle will be donated to a hospital in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, an area where hospitals have recently been targeted by Russian missiles.

Ms Fraser said she expects to end what she calls the “European leg” of her tour in Rotterdam at the beginning of next month before catching the ferry back to London where she needs to be for her “day job” on November 4.

She will then catch a train to Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland before cycling across the border and ending her journey at the Edinburgh headquarters of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB) on November 5.

The fitting end reflects Ms Fraser’s six-month collaboration between Baby Lifeline and the AUGB, one of whose volunteers will be matching the Scot’s mileage on an exercise bike from home.

Judy Ledger, founder and chief executive of Baby Lifeline, said: “Andrea Fraser is a truly remarkable woman, not only because she’s bravely travelling to Ukraine on her own – and then putting herself through one of the most challenging fundraising activities we, in our 40 years as a charity, have ever seen – but also because of her unrelenting dedication to helping women and babies in Ukraine.

“Since the inception of Baby Lifeline’s Ukraine Appeal, she has been at the forefront of our steering group, which has supported mothers, babies and medical professionals in Bucha, Chernihiv, Sumy, Irpin, Kharkiv, Kyiv and Vorzel, with the provision of more than £500,000 worth of equipment.

“Thousands of babies continue to be born in the most horrific circumstances, and we have to continue to do what we can to support them. Andrea, you are an inspiration. Thank you for everything.”

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