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Former Texas A&M grad goes on mission trip to help refugees in Ukraine

Posted at 7:24 PM, May 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-13 23:31:05-04

BRYAN, Texas — A pediatric NICU nurse and former Sam Houston State University and Texas A&M alum is currently helping Ukrainian refugees in Moldova.

“I’m very passionate about helping people that are in need and it’s because of the love that I’ve received, that I’m able to give that love to others,” said Kyle Cockerham, Pediatric ICU Nurse, Texas Children’s Hospital. I really want to share the love of God.”

Dr. Rogovskyy is an assistant professor at Texas A&M with the College of Veterinary Medicine and says these efforts mean everything to the Ukrainian people.

“Whenever they see that the world supports them, they don’t feel isolated anymore,” said Dr. Artem Rogovskyy, Texas A&M Professor, College of Veterinary Science. “That’s why it’s important to spread the news about Ukraine to show support, even tiny support. What Kyle is doing is great support. He actually went there and is helping on site.”

Dr. Rogovskyy describes Kyle as a young person with a big heart, and Kyle is just glad to be there.

“They need somebody to instill hope,” said Cockerham. “They need somebody to instill joy because their whole world that they knew has fallen apart.”

Kyle says everything has been bombed in Ukraine, leaving them with nothing.

“Their cities had been bombed,” said Cockerham. “Their houses have been bombed, their schools, their hospitals. All their places of safe haven and the places they know have been bombed.”

Kyle is trying to turn a devastating situation into a gleam of hope for a nation of people that need love and support.

“We’re going to smaller villages outside of the capitol as far as two and half our drives one way because there’s no healthcare there,” said Cockerham. “They don’t have doctors. They don’t have nurses. They don’t have hospitals or clinics.”

He says Russia is blocking all the Black Sea ports, preventing food from coming in. On top of that, families are being split apart.

“The husbands and fathers, they’re having to stay,” said Cockerham. “They’re not allowed to leave. They have to stay and fight. While that’s good for Ukraine, it’s sad for families because the families are being broken up.”

Besides medical attention, Kyle says their emotional needs also have to be met.

“It’s important to address their medical needs but you can’t forget their emotional and spiritual needs,” said Cockerham. “If you just give someone a medication, it helps their diabetes, it helps their blood pressure, you can even give them mental health medication, but it doesn’t fix the root cause. They’ve gone through extreme loads of stress and one thing we’ve said on our team, you can’t call it PTSD because they’re still living the trauma out. It’s not post-traumatic, it just is traumatic.”

Dr. Rogovskyy is a citizen of Ukraine. He says trauma weighs heavy on his mind.

“I couldn’t do much,” said Dr. Rogovskyy. “One week into the war, I stopped teaching. I just couldn't concentrate and focus and everything. The first six weeks into the war were terrible.”

He says he wanted to go back home and visit Ukraine before the war but couldn’t…and worries for his parent’s safety.

“My mom was very upset just yesterday,” said Dr. Rogovskyy. “I communicated with her yesterday and she was quite pessimistic. She was saying that everything is getting destroyed in Ukraine. It’s tough to see all of this.”

Dr. Rogovskyy says his parents hear sirens every day and don’t feel safe.

“Still sirens heard everyday on a daily basis, still danger because sometimes they do hit the targets and that’s usually civilians’ infrastructure, killing civilians, they don’t feel safe, but safer I would say,” said Dr. Rogovskyy.

Dr. Rovogskyy says with no end in sight, the best thing we could do to help is by donating, as his home country tries to repair the broken pieces.

For more information on how to donate to help refugees in Ukraine, visit United24 - The initiative of the President of Ukraine (u24.gov.ua).