Kyiv, Ukraine: The Knights of Columbus in Manitoba hold a special place in their hearts for newly established councils in Ukraine. With their support, five councils are getting underway, including 2 in Kyiv. The Canadian Knights, many with family and ancestral ties to Ukraine, are anxious to advance the members’ efforts to make a difference for people in their local communities. On two separate occasions the Manitoba Knights sponsored the delivery of containers of brand new wheelchairs, touching over 5,000 lives with their generous and tangible gifts of mobility.
Together with Ukraine partner Caritas Drohobych, Christiana Flessner, the Executive Director of the Canadian Wheelchair Foundation traveled to Pidbuzh, a pastoral countryside village. Even with fall beauty abounding, there was a chill in the air and in peoples’ hearts. Concern for the coming winter weighed heavy as the likelihood of insufficient fuel and food loomed in a town where horse-drawn carriages filled with wood are still common. A wonderful antidote was the excitement among over 100 seniors as they received their wheelchairs, helping each other and sharing time outside to celebrate their new mobility.
Recently, a group of Manitoba Knights returned to Ukraine to take part in distributing wheelchairs they sponsored, among them PSD Larry Kustra, PSD Merlyn Onyshuk and Past State Chaplain Michael Buyachok. While in the city of Lviv under a sun-lit St. George Cathedral they met Xenia, a 9 year old girl suffering from spina bifida and one of two twins with the same condition. Xenia was eager to meet the visitors and receive her new wheelchair. Graciously she chatted, bringing alive her excitement about taking part in activities at the community centre and moving about her school.
In the face of many challenges in Ukraine, the sponsorship of wheelchairs by the Manitoba Knights has provided hope and the assurance that the new councils are not alone in their quest to serve those in need.
The Canadian Wheelchair Foundation is an independent Canadian registered charity with the goal to deliver brand new, free wheelchairs to persons with physical disabilities throughout the world who are without mobility or the means to acquire a wheelchair. With a strong focus on developing and newly industrialized states, the Canadian Wheelchair Foundation continues to change the lives of people and communities with a gift that extends hope, dignity, opportunity and independence to all.