Name: Yana Zinkevych
Education: Rivne Educational Complex Collegium
Profession: Medical volunteer, founder of the Hospitaliery medical volunteer battalion
Did you know? Zinkevych has been given four awards: the Hero of the People of Ukraine award, the Order of Merit, Third Class, the For Saving Lives award, and the Martial Prowess award.
Yana Zinkevych, 21, born in Rivne and now living in the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast city of Pavlograd with her soldier-husband Maksym Korablev, has a personal story worthy of a dramatic movie about strength, courage, love and faith.
At 19, Zinkevych was preparing to enter the Medical Faculty of Lviv National University, but then the outbreak of war in the Donbas in the spring of 2014 changed her life. She decided to go to the front and founded the Hospitaliery medical volunteer battalion, which has become the part of the DUC (Volunteer Ukrainian Corps) – a fighting unit created by the Right Sector organization.
In 2014-2015, the hardest years of the Donbas war, Zinkevych and her fellow soldiers from Hospitaliery saved thousands of Ukrainian army soldiers and volunteer battalion fighters in the most dangerous hot spots in Russia’s war against Ukraine: Ilovaysk, Shyrokyne, Debaltseve, Pisky and Donetsk Airport. Zinkevych has herself saved 200 lives on the front line.
Although Zinkevych has no medical qualifications, she learned how to perform operations – even at the front line and under fire. Zinkevych told Fakty newspaper it was hard for her to give commands to a battalion full of men, all older than her, although nobody argued with her.
In December 2015, Zinkevych survived a terrible car crash when the Hospitaliery Battalion crashed into a ditch after skidding off an icy road.
Zinkevych suffered serious spine, rib and internal injuries. For two months, Ukrainian and then Israeli doctors fought for her life, repairing her spine piece by piece. Zinkevych went through a six-month rehabilitation period. A month after the car crash, Zinkevych also discovered she was pregnant.
Doctors warned her that it would be very hard for her to carry the baby, but Zinkevych decided to take the risk.
On May 27, Yana and her long-time boyfriend Korablev, a 27-year-old DUC fighter, got married in Dnipro. Yana is still in a wheelchair, but continues to manage the Hospitaliery Battalion. On Oct. 31 she gave birth to a girl and named her Bogdana, which means “Given by God,” and describes the child as a miracle for her parents.
“She was definitely given by the God,” Zinkevych told TSN news service. “All the doctors and diagnoses were telling me I couldn’t carry the baby due to my (spinal) injuries.”
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