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100th child from Ukraine at the Máxima Center

It's an ‘anniversary’ we'd rather not celebrate, but Kathelijne Kraal, pediatric oncologist and head of the International Patient Office, talks about the cooperation with the hospital in Lviv and the arrival of the 100th child from Ukraine. 

Kathelijne Kraal is a pediatric oncologist and head of the International Patient Office (IPO), the new name for the international office that coordinates the treatment of children from abroad. She says: ‘A total of 100 Ukrainian children have now come to the Máxima Center for treatment. This is, of course, a kind of anniversary that we prefer not to celebrate.' Because of the war in Ukraine, this relief effort started in March 2022. With two relief flights we brought a total of 52 children to the Netherlands. After that, children with cancer, often with their mothers or parents, traveled to us themselves. That brings us up to 100. 

She continues: ‘Meanwhile, some children have returned to Ukraine or passed away. Some have been hospitalized for long periods, for example, for stem cell transplants. The vast majority of the children are in day care or aftercare and are still in the Netherlands. They are admitted regularly for treatment or unexpectedly for fever or complications. The Máxima Center continues to work hard to accommodate this special group and continue their cancer treatment. For example, several (volunteer) interpreters work in support. Information materials have also been translated to better guide parents through their child's disease process.’ 

In August 2023, the First Lady of Ukraine visited the Máxima Center. She attended the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, the cooperation agreement between the Princess Maxima Center and the Children's Hospital in Lviv, Ukraine. Through this collaboration, both centers aim to accelerate the development of even better treatment options for children with cancer. Kathelijne Kraal says: ‘We are working with several hospitals within the SAFER platform. The war in Ukraine has been going on for almost two years now and so has our cooperation with these hospitals. Now that 100 Ukrainian children with cancer have been or are being treated at the Máxima Center, we take a moment to reflect on this special relief effort.’