Born and raised in Ukraine, Nick Nagorski of Barrington fears for his family back home as Russian forces violently expand their invasion of his beloved country. Nick’s brothers, parents, grandparents and nephews live in western Ukraine. They’re preparing for the worst as fighting intensifies, more flee and the number of civilian casualties continues to rise.
Along with his daughters and wife, Yana German, who is from Belarus, Nick is raising funds and gathering supplies to send to Ukraine. From medical kits and yoga mats for sleeping, to flashlights and batteries, to protective gear as Nick’s own brother and father prepare to join the fight for their country, the supplies are meant to protect loved ones and save lives.
Nick’s brother joined Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces to assist fellow citizens resisting Russia’s advance. His voice faltered when he shared how his father, who is still recovering from complications of Covid, is also preparing to fight. They’re asking for help.
“It’s bloody. There are kids dying and women trying to flee the country. There are kids who left their home naked with whatever blanket they could get,” Yana says. “I’m talking to a friend of mine whose sister is there and says they’re keeping people hostage in buildings where there’s no light, food, heat or water. Everyone is relying on help from outside.”
Nick says there have been airstrike sirens and Russian-speaking strangers in cars filled with weapons reported by friends patrolling his hometown. His father texted Nick earlier this week with news no son would ever want to hear. “He just wrote me message there is potential they will be mobilized and sent to the front and he is asking where can you send those things.” Things like helmets, vests, protective gear and supplies as they head toward areas under attack.
As of this week more than one-million people have fled Ukraine but, Nick says, his family chose to stay. His 4-year-old nephews are also recovering from Covid. There have been threats of air-raids at home. Plus, Nick says his family is just too close to their home and to each other.
“My grandma would not go anywhere. My mom would not let grandma stay alone. My brother. It’s like a chain. If my brother and family been there by themself, probably he would move them to Poland and stay to fight but, right now, they’re too tied there with each other and they have a pretty good spirit about it.”
“They are very, very strong. Beyond strong,” Yana says. “They are ready and saying, ‘We are going to do this. They are not going to take our land or hurt us or deprive us of having our freedom. No matter what, we will stand tall, even if we have to die for it. We’re going to die in the land that we stand for.'”
Yana says the courage of those in Ukraine has inspired them to take action to support those who are suffering as fear grows while danger draws closer to their family. “For me, it gives me more incentive to be more proactive and do something because that just gives us inner power.”
“It just makes us stronger,” Nick says. “For the last couple days I’ve experienced a huge rebuilding of my character. If they can do that there, I have no justification just to sit here and do nothing but pray. Praying is not enough right now. It’s not enough. Right now action is what’s needed.”
Nick says, in his view, this war is not Russians against Ukrainians. “The true Russians right now are protesting in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Those are the true Russian people. Those who are invading and sending rockets toward our country, those are not Russians. Every sane human knows there is no justification for this war.”
“If we don’t wake up right now and do something, the world will fall apart.” Yana says we can support their efforts by donating to the “United for Peace” fundraiser Nick created on Facebook this past Sunday. So far, they’ve raised over $10,000 of their $30,000 goal. Their story has been featured on Chicago’s FOX and CBS TV news networks.
While they learned this week they can’t send supplies directly to Nick’s family at this time, they’re coordinating with an organization that will send them to a center to be distributed throughout Ukraine in order of greatest need.
If you’d like to help, CLICK HERE to donate or contact Yana via cell 312-525-0555 or email at email@example.com. “We need not only funds but supplies. From batteries to yoga mats, to non perishable foods to medical and first-aid that can stop bleeding, gauzes, helmets, vests, camouflage clothes. If you can not donate, please find someone who can. The more we get involved, the more we’re going to make a difference and save lives.”