BUTTE - Butte doctors with family ties to Ukraine are organizing a fundraiser here to help Ukrainian children with dire medical needs who are trying to escape their war-torn country.
“Because there are so many children that, honestly, will not make it if we can’t get them out,” said Dr. Mimi Bartoletti.
Dr. Bartoletti is a first-generation American whose parents came from Poland and the Russian invasion of Ukraine has hit her family hard since they have relatives in Ukraine.
“Some of which we’ve been able to relocate to Poland and others, unfortunately, we’ve lost contact with,” said Bartoletti.
She’s since organized a fundraiser to be held at the Bute Knights of Columbus hall to raise money for medical facilities in Poland to treat Ukrainian child refugees fleeing to Poland.
It’s a way for her to help during a time when she often feels helpless.
“You really want to hear from them and know they’re okay. You have no ability to do so and so I think, at least for my parents, they’ve been up multiple nights staying next to the phone and hoping that they get a phone call. So, it’s been hard,” she said.
Dr. Nicholas Blavatsky — a Ukrainian-American who has been working at St. James HealthCare for more than 20 years — has also been worrying about his relatives in Ukraine since the invasion began in February and laments what’s happening to his father’s homeland.
“To see the level of destruction that’s been done to the cities, beautiful cities. What they’ve done to women and children and the executions, and that kind of thing is absolutely awful,” said Blavatsky.
With the town of Butte having such a strong connection with its immigrant past, organizers of this fundraiser are confident local residents will support this cause.
“Everyone has some ties to some immigrant past, so, if you think about it, what lengths would you go to, what would you do to try and help a family in a place that you came from?” said Bartoletti.
Since the invasion of Ukraine started on Feb. 24, there have been 4.3 million refugees fleeing Ukraine.
Just over 671,000 refugees have fled to Romania and an estimated 2.5 million have fled to Poland.
The fundraiser will be on April 12 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus and will feature guest speakers and borsht will be served.