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03rd Mar 2022

5 year old Ukrainian boy arrives in Ireland for leukaemia treament

He was told to flee by doctors.

A five year old Ukrainian boy has arrived in Ireland after fleeing the war torn capital of Kyiv in hopes of getting life saving medical treatment.

Arriving in Cork on Monday, Leonid Shapoval and his family fled after being urged by doctors to leave Ukraine as their son was set to get a bone marrow transplant to treat his leukaemia only days after war broke out.

His mother’s aunt Victoria Walden lives in Cork and told RTE that the doctors were unequivocal.

“The doctor gave Yana [the mother] all Leonid’s documents and said: ‘Run, just run. There is no way he is going to get any more treatment. We have to send him home. Because of war, we don’t know what’s going to happen’,” she said.

Leonid was due to get the transplant on March 10th after weeks of chemotherapy and managed to get to Ireland once the government lifted the visa restrictions when Russia invaded.

A Gofundme page has since been set up by a relative and has raised more than €40,000 to pay for his treatment.

Set up by a family member, the page reads: “Leonid has leukemia, and was due to get his transplant treatment in Kyiv last week, as the conflict between Ukraine and Russia got worse, Leonid’s parents were told to leave the country and seek help somewhere abroad, since then we have been told that the hospital in Kyiv he was due to go to had been bombed.

“Getting them to Ireland couldn’t have been possible without the help of Michael Collins and Valerie, so I would like to thank them deeply on behalf of my family. I am asking for any help you can to help with his treatment, any profits will be donated to the Irish cancer society. Thank you.”

Leonid and his parents arrived at Dublin Airport on Monday night with only one suitcase after crossing from Ukraine into Poland by land and then going on to Zurich.

They were greeted by Michael Collins, the independent TD for Cork South West, who was involved in the rescue mission, and he was also joined by officials from the department of foreign affairs.

The family was then brought to Ballydehob in west Cork, where Walden lives.