Ukrainian-Born Chicago Woman Worries About Disabled Dad Sheltering-in-Place in Kharkiv

NBC Universal, Inc.

A Ukrainian woman who now lives in Chicago said she wishes she could be by her father’s side.

“He said 'whatever happens, it happens,'” said Elena, who asked us not to use her last name. “'Just so you know I really love you,' and he said 'I’m staying here strong.'”

Her 65-year-old father is disabled and relies on a wheelchair to get around. He and his caretaker have not been able to flee the country or get to a bomb shelter safely.

They’ve been riding out the attacks on the third floor of his apartment building in Kharkiv.

“My dad’s windows are covered with cushions, pillows, some blankets in case,” she said. “There will be explosions and the glass will break; he will not get injured so much.”

Elena is a nursing assistant at Rush University Medical Center. She said she hasn’t been able to eat or sleep thinking about his safety.

“There was like three or four explosions that I heard on Skype while he was inside this apartment, then the sky kinda just light up too,” she said. “I saw it through his window too and his caregiver she was just in the bathroom hiding because there’s no windows there—so she can be at least safe with that.”

Elena's friends, neighbors and colleagues in the States have been supportive, donating money to help her father with food and medication, but the supply is now desperately low.

“He’s just living minute by minute, second by second, but he’s fighting for his life for sure,” she said. “He’s not giving up. not giving up mentally. He’s truly believe it’s going to be over soon.”

Every time Elena talks to her father she fears it could be their last conversation and said she feels helpless not being able to physically be there for him when he needs her the most.

“They’re just trying to survive through this and this is just so wrong,” she said. “I’m sorry, it’s very hard to talk about it. I try to stay strong, but I hope Ukraine stays strong too and my dad as well.”

Contact Us