Boy, 5, with leukemia arrives in Ireland after fleeing from Ukraine with his family 1 year ago

Boy, 5, with leukemia arrives in Ireland after fleeing from Ukraine with his family

He is now staying with relatives in West Cork.

A five-year-old boy with leukemia has arrived in Ireland with his family after they fled Ukraine.


The boy, Leonid, was set to receive a bone marrow transplant later this month but the life-saving procedure was halted due to Ukraine being invaded by Russia.

Escaping, the family is now staying with Leonid's grandaunt Victoria in Ballydehob in West Cork.

Speaking about how Leonid and his parents, Yana and Serhiy, were able to flee Ukraine, Victoria told RTÉ's Drivetime in an emotional interview:

"They drove in their car down to the border. It took them 30 hours of driving to get there.


"When they got to the border - the Polish border - there was 20km of a queue of cars.

"But luckily, the police were very kind to them once they found out the condition Leonid was in.

"They got the sirens and they took them 20km to skip the queue and they took them all the way to the Polish border where they spent another five hours.

"But as soon as they approached the border, the Polish people started bringing them food and drink and everything and once they crossed the border, they were placed in a nice little monastery where they spent their night."


Victoria then contacted her relatives to tell them that Irish borders were open for Ukrainian people and that they could come over.

She reached out to local TD Michael Collins who got in touch with the Department of Foreign Affairs and "got the ball rolling", Leonid's grandaunt said.

According to Victoria, the little boy needs one final chemotherapy session before undergoing the bone marrow transplant.

"The donor has to be found and arranged to come over here in Ireland and have him treated. That's the only way," she explained.


"We have documents, loads of pages of documents where everything is explained - what he must be given and how treatments work and what was damaged in his body."

Yana described her son as "very kind and very active," saying as she fought back tears: "I hope he will be happy and we will be free."

RTÉ reports that, on Tuesday, Leonid underwent a full medical assessment in Schull and that steps have already been taken to give him the treatment he requires here.

A GoFundMe page has been set up at this link to help the little boy get the care he needs.

Main image via Facebook/Michael Collins Independent TD