The Marquette family collects medical supplies for Ukraine


MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) — In 2018, the Ampe family adopted two little boys with Down syndrome from Ukraine.

Cazimir, 5, and Henrik, 4, now live in Marquette with their adoptive family. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine displaced many Ukrainians and their access to basic resources, including the biological families of Cazimir and Henrik.

“We feel very lucky to have them. We are at least closely linked to Henrik’s family and try to show our support for the people who gave us our sons in a way,” said Tiffany Ampe, adoptive mother of Cazimir. and Henrik. “Their biological families wanted to keep them but couldn’t keep them because of resources. It wasn’t a problem we could solve. We couldn’t invent pediatric occupational therapists or a social system that would integrate them.” in schools and things of that nature, but we can meet that need and we can help them during this time.

When Henrik’s biological family let the Ampes know that they desperately needed supplies in Ukraine, the Ampes took action.

“So we had to navigate this really difficult relationship of absolute tragedy and grief, but looking for restoration. And now to navigate another tragedy where [Henrik’s biological mother] and her husband are caught up in a war. They’re just civilians trying to stay alive, and she’s not talking about grand plans, they just want to plant their garden next week. They want to be able to go to work and not be afraid of being killed. She wants her husband to be home. Even in his mid-40s, he was drafted and has no military experience, no equipment, but he is serving. And these are the dreams that we share with them and that we want to support.

Now the Ampes need your help to donate medical supplies. Tiffany’s husband Joe will be flying to Poland in the coming weeks to connect with two other foster dads who are helping out across the border in Ukraine.

“A very small amount will go to Henrik’s family, we’ve already covered that. We’ve paid for the plane tickets. What we’re asking for help with is filling those other bags, eight of between them, to have the ten full bags that we can take on our humanitarian flight. All of those go to a particular hospital where we have a connection with an emergency doctor,” Ampe said.

One of the people helping to make all of this possible is Tiffany’s friend, Jenny Stoudt, who helps with online efforts for Ukraine aid.

“Like a lot of people, I think, I watched what was happening in Ukraine and felt helpless or unconvinced that whatever I could do would actually get to the people who need help in time. And so , just to be a small part of that, it’s great to finally do something to get help going to people whose names and faces I can actually know,” Stoudt said.

The parishes of St. John and St. Joseph in Ishpeming are also stepping in to support these efforts.

“So every year during Lent, we do a Lenten alms campaign in our Ishpeming parishes. The invasion of Ukraine started just before Lent, so we kind of added that as another option that people can donate to,” Father Ryan Ford said. “We didn’t know exactly what we were going to do with the money, Lent still has a few weeks before Easter. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to support something local and the efforts of local people to bring these needed supplies to Ukraine. We will therefore donate the money we collect for the alms campaign which is intended for Ukrainian aid to the Ampes and their efforts to bring these supplies.

How to donate to the Ampe family relief efforts in Ukraine:

Joe Ampe will make a second trip to Ukraine in early May to deliver more supplies. Volunteers are needed Sunday, April 10 at 2 p.m. at St. John’s Evangelist in Ishpeming to fill suitcases with supplies. For more information, please contact Jenny Stoudt or Tiffany Ampe on the Facebook group “Yoopers Love Ukrainians”.


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