Hypertensive Crisis Amid Ukraine Crisis

Alexander and Marta* had left Ukraine in such a hurry, they’d forgotten their medication. Now, in a Polish refugee camp with 10,000 others, the elderly couple’s blood pressure was so high, the husband had already had a stroke, and the wife was in hypertensive crisis, with a blood pressure reading of 220/160.

Their hope was to get to the United States, where their daughter was and where they could get medical care. But without a COVID vaccine, traveling to the U.S. was impossible, and each day without medication was another day closer to tragedy.

Agape Blessings Cure, who was one of Blessings’ first partner organizations to respond to the war, over-nighted 216 pounds of medicines in early March. Dr. Mary Tao, chief medical officer of ABC told us, “The purpose of this short trip was to transport urgent medications and medical supplies into Ukraine and especially the under-siege areas of Ukraine before all transportation routes were destroyed.”

And their goal was successful.

Dr. Tao with a young patient

“I am very grateful to say that our suitcases of supplies were one of the very few that made it into eastern Ukraine, using the one last bridge that had not gotten blown up by the Russians.”

ABC’s base camp was in Poland, where they ministered to refugees and from where they sent medicines into Ukraine. Using the same vans that had ushered refugees to safety, volunteers from the area drove the vans back into Ukraine, this time loaded with medicines and supplies, never knowing if they would come back with another load of refugees.

“They [the people in Ukraine] have a mindset that they are left on their own to fend for themselves,” Dr. Tao said, “so the fact that a little bit of our [medicine] went in, brought a little bit of hope to them that God is there, God cares, and the rest of the world cares. I think that is actually the best outcome of our trip.”

“The hope keeps them going,” she added.

Hope reentered Alexander and Marta’s lives when they happened upon Dr. Tao at a church service in Poland and learned she and Dr. Blake, who had come with Agape Blessings Cure, would be offering a clinic.

Although the couple couldn’t remember the name of their medications, Drs. Tao and Blake had brought blood pressure medicines with them.

“By the next day, their blood pressure came down,” Dr. Tao said. “But if it were not for God putting us together that day, they probably would have had strokes.”

Dr. Tao’s husband, an attorney, was then able to help the couple with legalities for entering the United States so they could reunite with their daughter. Thanks to one meeting, compassion led to provision, which led to hope amidst crisis.

“God will go after the individual,” Dr. Tao said, adding that if their team was able to show only one person that God sees them, their efforts were worth it.


*Names changed for privacy

Meagan Briggs

Meagan serves as Blessings International's communications associate.

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