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One family’s story: Fleeing Kyiv to Ballydehob with their son (5) who has leukaemia


by Amy Lynch
14th Mar 2022

Leonid Shapoval: now receiving his cancer treatment in Ireland after fleeing Ukraine

When Leonid (5) was diagnosed with leukaemia, it was a devastating blow. But his treatment was going well. He had one chemotherapy session left before a scheduled bone marrow transplant. Then Russian missiles started raining down on Ukraine, forcing his family to flee as his hospital was bombed. From Ballydehob, west Cork, his family spoke to IMAGE about carrying Leonid and his suitcase, stuffed with all of his medical records and medicines, across the border and onwards to Ireland.

When I close my eyes, I picture them fleeing with a small suitcase in one hand and the hand of their child in the other. That is all Yana and Serghyi Shapoval took with them as they fled war-torn Ukraine – one little suitcase. When your city is being bombed and the critical health of your child is at the forefront of your mind, what else was there to take? Five-year-old Leonid has cancer. His...

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