When Russia invaded her country on Feb. 24, 2022, Central Lakes College Ukrainian student Mary Kharytonova’s life changed forever. After spending a couple of weeks hiding in her home with her mom, the lack of food and medicine, and Russian troops getting closer, drove the pair to seek refuge in Poland.
In the dead of night, Mary (with a cat in her backpack and suitcases in hand), walked 9 miles with her mom and best friend to the Polish border.
After reaching the border, Mary eventually came to Minnesota, where she chose to study Graphic Design at CLC. Now in her second year at the college, Mary wanted to do something for her friends, family and those who are still in Ukraine.
She’s releasing a book that she co-authored with friend Sofiia Vasylenko, to raise funds for her country. It’s called “24”. It’s a collection of 24 stories from Ukrainians who faced terrifying, tragic and hopeful situations since the war started. Sales from the book will go to Impact Ukraine, which sends humanitarian aid to the country.
Collecting these stories for the world to see is her destiny, Mary said. She knows so many good people who died. While Mary struggles with survivor’s guilt, the passion to help her home country and friends is stronger.
“I needed to do something,” she said. “I needed to help. These people inspire me a lot.”
Buy the book: www.24thebook.com/
More on Impact Ukraine: www.impactukraine.com/