Twenty-five Ukrainian children with cancer who fled the war in their country flew aboard a Spanish air force plane Friday from Poland to Madrid, where they will receive treatment, Spain’s Defense Ministry said.
The children, accompanied by family members, were immediately taken to Madrid hospitals for checkups to determine if they will stay in hospital or could go to lodging provided for Ukrainian war refugees, said Dr. Ana Fernandez-Teijeiro, president of Spain’s pediatric oncology group SEHOP.
On the flight, there were 22 more Ukrainian war refugees, including some children, the Spanish government said.
Spain’s SEHOP, a professional organization for pediatric oncologists, worked with Spain’s Aladina Foundation and St. Jude Global, linked to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the United States, to bring the 25 Ukrainian children with cancer to Spain, Dr. Fernandez-Teijeiro told CNN.
Similar collaborations are moving Ukrainian children with cancer to get treatment in other European countries as well, from a hotel staging area near Warsaw, Poland, Dr. Fernandez-Teijeiro added.
There are about 1,000 Ukrainian war refugees in Spain to date who have requested government assistance, and they are currently in refugee lodging, such as homes, hotels or refugee centers, the press office of Spain’s Ministry of Inclusion and Migrations told CNN.
Spain has prepared an additional 17,000 beds, the press office said.
There are about 114,000 Ukrainians living in Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said recently. The ministry press office told CNN it thought that some of the initial arrivals of war refugees went directly to stay with their Ukrainian family members or friends, without notifying the government.