Ukraine War: Edinburgh woman cycles thousands of miles home after delivering medical supplies
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A human rights lawyer from Portobello returned home on Saturday having driven an ambulance car full of medical supplies to war-torn Ukraine and cycling home to raise money for a charity working to help children there. Andrea Fraser arrived back in Edinburgh on Saturday (November 5), completing her solo round-trip to Ukraine to deliver more than £11,000 of maternity equipment for use by midwives and doctors on the country’s frontlines.
The 31-year-old has raised more than £7,000 for Baby Lifeline's Ukraine Appeal by cycling solo from Ukraine to Scotland. Andrea completed her final leg, from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Edinburgh at the weekend, marking an end to a three-week 1,250 mile cycle across Europe. Reflecting on her journey, Andrea said: “My ride back from Ukraine has been full of highs and lows. There have been beautiful days, like the one on which I arrived in Wurzburg, Germany, and was invited to spend an evening with members of the local Ukrainian community there.
"And there have been difficult days of pedalling up relentless hills in the pouring rain and coming off my bike. Seeing the amount raised for Baby Lifeline gradually increase throughout this trip has kept me going. I know that every pound donated will be spent on equipment that will save mothers and babies’ lives. It’s great to be back home in Scotland. Although I’ll be putting aside my bike for a while, I won’t be taking a break from our work in Ukraine. If anything, I’m more motivated now than ever.”
Amongst the aid delivered by Andrea were Baby Lifeline’s specialist birth bags, as well as defibrillators, fetal dopplers, personal protective equipment, stretchers and blankets, which have now been distributed by volunteers working on-the-ground amidst ongoing Russian attacks.
Andrea said: “The harsh reminder of why I undertook this challenge has been ever-present. Three days before I arrived in Ukraine, Lviv was attacked. Three days after I left, missiles were falling there again.“A huge part of this journey is about raising awareness for Ukraine and the extreme hardship of those living and working there – like the doctors and nurses working without adequate supplies. Also, heroes like Breaking the Chains, who continue to operate in Ukraine’s most dangerous areas – areas that no other organisation can get to – to rescue animals, deliver supplies and ensure that those left behind are not forgotten.”
While on the road, Andrea co-ordinated a second truck full of maternity supplies to be delivered to Ukraine through Baby Lifeline’s Ukraine Appeal, working closely with AUGB. She did this as a matter of urgency following disturbing reports from volunteers on the ground regarding the urgent need to re-supply maternity hospitals, which are left under-resourced and at risk of being cut off by Russian air attacks.
Judy Ledger, founder and chief executive of Baby Lifeline, said: “The Baby Lifeline team is in awe of Andrea, her energy and commitment to support our cause. We can’t thank her enough for everything she has done, and continues to do, leading the steering group for our Ukraine Appeal. Since March 2022, Baby Lifeline and its supporters have donated £500,000 worth of equipment to teams in Ukraine, helping to safely deliver thousands of babies since the war began. To date, we’ve supported mothers, babies and medical professionals in Bucha, Chernihiv, Sumy, Irpin, Kharkiv, Kyiv and Vorzel.“Our aim has been to get equipment to health professionals working in areas most affected by Russian attacks, and the next truck of equipment will be arriving in the country this month. We hope Andrea does take some time to rest at her Edinburgh home, because she has definitely earned it!”