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Ukraine crisis strikes close to home for club members

Updated: Mar 8, 2022

Many of you will know that Onischenko family, who are keen club members, are from Ukraine. For them, recent events have struck very close to home. Below is a message which Inna sent to her work colleagues couple of days ago, which I'd like to share with everyone:

I am originally from Ukraine and as you know there is a war there …. a real war. Now I do not think of Thursday or Friday but for me the count is: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5 and today is Day 6. I have got a call at 6.30am on Thursday morning while waiting for a train to London office and feared that 6am calls never bear any good news.

But I was not prepared for what my friend told me. They were under air strike. She asked me to look after her son's family with two young children if anything happen to her or her husband. Her son's family tried to escape at 5am - 30 min after the first airstrike but did not managed to get anywhere as some of the roads were destroyed and others blocked by cars with people trying to escape. In Kyiv my niece and her son are trapped in their apartment block for six days without any sleep under rocket fire day and night. Today she went to a shop that opened for a first time in 6 days. She has taken a risk as gun fire were everywhere due to street fights. Little she could buy as there was no any food on the shelves. Another family is on outskirts of Kharkov sitting 6th day in a deep homemade bomb shelter.

They had little food but now only flour. They cannot go to the city to buy any as there is non-stopping rocket explosions. They have 87 y.o. grandma with them.

My other niece in Dniro volunteering in a hospital. 3 days ago there was a large number of injured civilians and they continue to arrive. Her mother is also helping and making Molotov cocktails. I would never believe that this gentle beautiful woman would have to do such thing to protect people around her. Oleg - our IT developer from BookingSync that we are closely working with on implementing APIs is in Kyiv under rocket fire with his young daughter, his wife, mother and grandmother.

He cannot go anywhere as it is too dangerous to leave the flat. However the place is not safe at all. Anything can happen to anyone at anytime, anywhere. There are many kind souls in Ukraine that can offer a shelter to anyone but nobody dares to leave their block apartments as it might be even more dangerous on the roads. I can go on with about 48 stories of each family of my friends and relatives that I have spoken to. All scared, stressed, fearing for the lives of their children and grandchildren. They are not soldiers - just ordinary people. The good news is - they are still alive today and they are strong in spirit due to unbelievable support and kind messages from everywhere. People that I don’t even know have reached out offering their support: friends, my son's friends, parents of the friends. I don’t even know how some people got my phone number to send messages and offer donations either financially or briging medical supplies that are desperately needed on the ground. My local community is very generous in kind messages of support and donating medical supplies and food for injured civilians and army. I am sharing all these messages with friends and relatives and this keeps them going. It really helps to know that Ukrainians are not alone, that people are thinking about them. Our employer - Expedia Group - is very kind to people in need (as always!) and is matching all donations made to Ukraine. I am very grateful on behalf of my relatives and friends I want to say a big thank you for your compassion and care for innocent Ukrainian people and soldiers that defend them!

Many of the Onischenkos' neighbours have been donating food and medical supplies (see picture above) and 3 vans carrying these donations have already left for Ukraine. Alex is setting up a system for delivering requested items through a volunteer network, and there will soon be a link through which people can donate or sponsor requested items through that system.

In the meantime, if you would like to help, please make a donation to one of the charities supporting the victims of the war. One good option is the Hospitallers, who are providing desperately needed medical help to victims on the front line. Otherwise, you can donate to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal launched by the Disasters Emergency Committee, a group of leading charities including the Red Cross, Save the Children and Oxfam.

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