Kyiv-born Edmontonian taking donations to Poland for Ukrainian refugees

An Edmontonian born in Kyiv is heading to Poland with suitcases full of donations for people fleeing Ukraine, including his sister and her children.

Roman Lakhnyuk immigrated to Canada in 2013 from Ukraine. He’s now getting ready to fly to Poland to help his sister from him.

“She drove to western Ukraine with her husband, her kids, which is extremely dangerous with what’s going on and so we decided for her to go to Poland. But it’s just her and her kids, she couldn’t cross the border and settle in Poland by herself,” said Lakhnyuk.

Her sister Olesea has lived in Kyiv her entire life – her husband, like many Ukrainian men, must stay in the country and fight with the army.

“She’s had to trick herself into going to Poland by literally tricking herself into thinking she’s going on vacation. Sounds funny in a way, but that’s what she’s had to tell herself in order to feel comfortable enough to leave and she has to tell herself she’s going to be able to come back.”

With the help of family friend Janice Krissa-Moore, Lakhnyuk is collecting donations to give to women and children who had to flee Ukraine.

“Friends and family were calling and asking if they could do anything and I just kept saying I don’t know, and then Roman and I decided, ‘Yes, he should go to Poland so we can do something,’ and that’s when we decided to get the suitcases together,” said Krissa-Moore.

The duo is collecting donations of toys, clothes and medical supplies like bandages and medications to donate once Lakhnyuk gets to Poland. Six suitcases have already been donated along with the extra fees to transport them.

“Right now they are leaving with just a small backpack each,” said Krissa-Moore.

Wireless City in south Edmonton and Eye Care Group on Jasper Avenue will be accepting items until Friday, it’ll be packed up on Saturday in time for Lakhnyuk to take it to Poland on Sunday.

“I didn’t know I’d be going to Poland a couple days ago, but ever since I made that decision and told a few people about it, the amount of support I’ve been getting has been crazy,” he said.

Any extra donations will be kept for refugees from Ukraine who make their way to Canada.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Alison MacKinnon

Leave a Comment