One Year In: How a First-Time Polish Volunteer Impacted Ukrainian Lives

Radek Milczarski’s first volunteer experience started with a phone call between friends.

Radek was an ordinary person. He simply enjoyed his job, friends and family in Warsaw, Poland. But one year ago, Radek became an extraordinary person.

When the invasion happened and he began hearing about the terrible things Russian forces were doing, he became concerned for a friend who lived in the eastern part of Ukraine.

“My friend didn’t ask for help,” said Radek. “All they wanted me to do was support those fighting.”  So Radek began fundraising. Soon, his donation efforts grew far larger than he expected. Then Radek joined with other Poles who were helping. He felt inspired by the unity he experienced. The effort to provide relief and seek victory for Ukraine was bringing many people together.

“When there is a war, and you are sitting down, helpless, it is much harder to do nothing than to do something.”

Eventually, Radek crossed the border as part of a convoy made up entirely of non-military people who just wanted to help. The goal: evacuate his friend’s family. He felt the threat of injury or even death at any moment. He recalls children rushing off of roads to hide at the sound of planes flying overhead. Destruction greeted Radek at every turn. His fear was so intense that he often cried behind the wheel of his car.

“I’ve never done volunteer work. I’ve never done charity work,” said Radek. “But after four days, I was going back to Ukraine with four cars filled with medicines and things needed for the army.”

Radek is determined because the Ukrainian cause is bigger than Radek himself. The longer the war, the more resources Ukrainians needed to fight. Many areas of Ukrainian cities were destroyed and abandoned. Regular people, just like Radek, were being injured or killed.

“We evacuated people my age, guys much younger, who were grievously injured in the war. Many had limbs that had to be amputated from wounds.”

Thousands of men and women like Radek are braving warzones to save people and fend off the Russian invaders. There are ways to support them. Share this story on social media with #UnifyUkraine.

If you’re interested in supporting an organization directly, some helpful options are available here:

Share a Sunflower for Ukraine

Create your#UnifyUkraine sunflower and share it to join voices for a free Ukraine.  

Related posts

About the Campaign

Unify Ukraine is a public service campaign on behalf of the Polish government to raise American awareness of Russia’s ongoing invasion that has torn apart the country and families of Ukraine. Together, we can help free Ukraine from this occupation and unify this beautiful land and people once again.

nativo pixel