Neighbors in Need: Family Flees Ukraine, Settles in Brooklyn Heights After Toddler’s Cancer Treatment

Imagine your country is on the brink of war. Then you learn your two-year-old child has a large, cancerous brain tumor. This is exactly what the Negodiuk family from Kyiv, Ukraine has endured.  Just two days before Russian bombs began to drop, their son Mark had emergency surgery. Once home, the family of three was forced to seek shelter in their basement during the siege. Fortunately, with the help of Elena Koenig, teen cancer survivor and Founder of The Koenig Childhood Cancer Foundation, The Negodiuks fled Ukraine to New York City where Mark received vital care at Memorial Sloan Kettering. You can see more of their story in these CBS and NBC news clips.

Now the Negodiuks have safely settled in Brooklyn Heights. But they are starting completely from scratch in a virtually empty apartment. This morning Mark’s father, Dima made a plea on the neighborhood Buy Nothing Facebook page. His post has been lightly edited for clarity and read in part;

Hello, Brooklyn Heights neighbors. We are family from Ukraine with 2 y.o kid. 2 days before [the Russian invasion of Ukraine] was we knew, that our kid had a brain tumor…Thanks God, 3 month ago, we were able to come to New York to MSK cancer hospital, received best medicine and last week we finished our treatment. As our appartment is totally empty, even no kitchen. I’m wondering if someone has any furniture:

Dinning table
Chairs for dinning table
Bed – king size (as we have king size mattress and linen)
Sofa bed
Kitchen island (as there are no kitchen and no place to prepare dish for cooking)
Multi cooker
Watching machine
Commode for clothes

Will be grateful for any help! 
Thank you!

If you’d like to assist, please comment below with the item(s) you have available and the best way to connect. The family has not asked for clothing or monetary donations. But because they currently have limited ability to cook, perhaps gift cards for Instacart, Grub Hub or Seamless would be appreciated as well.

If you are unaware, Buy Nothing Brooklyn Heights/DUMBO/Vinegar Hill Facebook page and others like it is a hyper-local group to mindfully gift unwanted household items or request needed/wanted items. Gifters are encouraged to let items “simmer,” select a recipient and schedule a hand-off. Popular items in our neighborhood are bar stools, storage bins, clothing, books, toys, and even leftover cookies or cakes. According to the New York Times, even dryer lint and pickle juice are in demand. The movement was started by two women in Washington State in 2013 and has since taken hold in forty-four countries. The intention is to foster community and empathy and to keep otherwise useful items out of landfills.

Members of our local group have answered the call to help neighbors in the past. Collections have been taken up for those displaced by fire both in Brooklyn Heights and the Bronx. An anonymous member asked for much-needed clothing for her many children and was gifted items through the Administrator. Another was desperate to find her bag containing her phone, wallet, and keys fly after it flew off the back of her Citi-Bike. A Mother/Daughter duo found it trapped under the wheel of a parked car in front of Sam’s Autobody. Mayhem and a happy ending ensued. For many members, participation has restored some of their faith in humanity. And so, the Blog is calling on your better angels to welcome and comfort The Negodiuks as well.




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  • Hazel Fershleiser

    I have a used but working toaster oven I would like to give the family.