Mother who escaped war-torn Ukraine while 7 months pregnant finds care at Pasadena clinic

"They really want to make you feel safe here," said the mother, who found peace and care thanks to ChapCare in Pasadena.

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Sunday, December 25, 2022
Mother who fled Ukraine while pregnant finds care at Pasadena clinic
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A refugee fleeing the war-torn country of Ukraine faces a number of challenges, but imagine doing it while being seven months pregnant. That is the story of Liudmyla Mogyl.

PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- A refugee fleeing the war-torn country of Ukraine faces a number of challenges, but imagine doing it while being seven months pregnant. That is the story of Liudmyla Mogyl.

In February, Mogyl was pregnant while pursuing a career in law in Ukraine. Her husband was studying to get a Ph.D. in business. Then, their lives changed in an instant.

"I will remember that day for the rest of my life," said Mogyl. "I woke up because of a very bright light in my room. I thought for the first time that I was blind, and I realized it was a rocket."

That month, Russia invaded Ukraine in a war that continues to rage on. For two weeks, Mogyl slept in a parking garage in freezing temperatures, hoping the war would end. However, the ongoing violence forced her and her husband to escape and seek safety elsewhere.

They eventually arrived in Pasadena when Mogyl was 32 weeks pregnant.

"When I came to America, yes, I felt really safe, but I still felt very nervous because I had new problems," she said. "I didn't know where to go, what to do."

Through the Community Healthcare Alliance of Pasadena, also known as ChapCare, Mogyl found the care she needed.

"She'd never had an ultrasound; she hadn't had any bloodwork done, so we got all those things done within the first week that she came to us," said Terre Osterkamp, the Clinical Director of Obstetrics & Gynecology Services at ChapCare. "We all felt a real feeling in our heart that we needed to do for her, where probably she would not get care elsewhere."

ChapCare's mission is to provide healthcare services to low-income, uninsured residents in the Pasadena area. They also help clients navigate what can be a complicated process of signing up for healthcare during open enrollment underway in California.

While Mogyl's story is unique, the care she received from the federally funded community health center isn't.

"From what I hear from our patients, they really adore their doctors and I've heard many of them say, 'I have the best doctor in the world' and another patient will say 'I have the best doctor in the world' so they really are fortunate to get care at ChapCare," said ChapCare's director of development Phillip Hain.

Every year, ChapCare provides over 68,000 primary healthcare visits in their community, often to those who cannot pay, and in many cases, provide a lifeline for someone facing a health crisis with nowhere to turn.

"They really want to make you feel safe here, so I think it's the best place," said Mogyl.

For more information, visit ChapCare's website.