Family's ordeal in war-torn Kiev after autism treatment

A MUM has described fleeing war in Ukraine after she got caught up in the conflict whilst seeking Autism treatment for her son, and has praised her Derby based colleagues for their support.

Daisy Peeva suffered night-time flashbacks for four weeks having arrived back in the UK after travelling to a clinic in Kiev.

She and her five-year-old son, Alexander, and her mum, Lucy, were staying in the city and were meant to fly back home to England on February 25.

But Russia invaded the area the day before - and she was woken in the early hours of February 24 by the sounds of an explosion.

Although Daisy, 42, has a British passport and British citizenship, she is originally from Bulgaria and was in Kiev as it is renowned for autism treatment at Kiev’s EmCell clinic.

It was only thanks to being able to stay at the Bulgarian Embassy for four nights, and then a 50-hour bus ride into Bulgaria, that the family were able to escape and get a flight back home.

Daisy, who lives in Burton-on-Trent and works as a business manager for Sky Recruitment Solutions, said: “We were woken on the Thursday morning at 3am by a really short explosion. I looked out of the window and saw thousands of cars trying to flee.”

She added: “It was really traumatising - every evening at 3am I couldn’t sleep for the past four weeks after returning to the UK - that was the time of the first explosion.”

She said her father had rang her hours before to say the war had started and told her not to panic 

“None of the Ukrainians could believe what was happening - the day before, the drivers were saying ‘we are brothers, Putin won’t attack - we have lived this way for the past eight years’.”

Daisy’s son, Alexander, a pupil of the Fountains special primary school, in Stretton, Burton-on-Trent, was diagnosed with autism in July last year and is non-verbal.

He is at 34 on the autism spectrum - indicating moderate autism.

She said he was “surprisingly okay” on the gruelling bus journey to Bulgaria, but after 48 hours, he became restless.

It is hoped that treatment at the EmCell clinic will help him to live a normal, independent life.

Daisy, who has lived in England since 2013, has already used her savings on the first round of treatment, but she has set up a gofundme web page to help raise the £50,000 needed for his ongoing treatment.

Now that treatment in Kiev is not viable, due to the ongoing conflict, she is seeking alternative help for Alexander in Slovakia.

She added that a friend’s son had received similar stem cell treatment and “you would never think that two-and-a-half years ago he was non-verbal”. 

“Traditional treatment is not helping kids”, added Daisy, whose mum stopped work to help her look after Alexander.

Alexander interacts via communication cards and uses Makaton sign language.

Daisy thanked everyone who  has supported her so far, including those who have helped raise more than £8,000 online. 

She also thanked her colleagues at Sky Recruitment Solutions.

“There are no words to express my gratitude,” said Daisy.

“Sky feels like my second family. They have been really supportive, especially Beckie Elliott, my manager, when we were stuck in Kiev.”

Beckie said: “For your child to undergo treatment in a foreign country must be daunting. 

“But to have him recover from that treatment as war breaks out is unthinkable.

“That’s why we are doing all we can to help support Daisy and Alexander, and we hope others will get behind them as we try to ensure he gets to live a normal life as possible.” 

Sky Recruitment Solutions is now hosting a pub quiz, auction and raffle in aid of Alexander.

It takes place at Gaslight, in Friargate, Derby, from 7pm on Friday, May 6.

Entry is £5 each, with a maximum of eight people per team.

To book a ticket, contact Sky Recruitment Solutions via its Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn pages. 

To donate, search for “Give a Hope to Alexander” on gofundme.com