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Ukrainian National Museum Hosting Blood Drive As ‘Thank You’ To Community For Support During War

The event is Feb. 1 in Ukrainian Village. Appointments are encouraged.

Artem Zyakum helps carry a large Ukrainian flag on State Street as thousands gather during a rally in support of Ukrainian sovereignty in the Loop on Feb. 27, 2022.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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UKRAINIAN VILLAGE — Groups are hosting a blood drive next week to thank Chicagoans for supporting the Ukrainian community during the Russian invasion.

The blood drive is 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday at the Ukrainian National Museum, 2249 W. Superior St.

The event is being hosted by the museum and the Association of American Youth of Ukrainian Descent, with support from the Selfreliance Federal Credit Union. It will be administered by Versiti Blood Center of Illinois in the museum’s main gallery.

Appointments are encouraged and can be made online. Walk-ups will be accepted if there are cancellations, organizers said.

Credit: Provided
The Ukrainian National Museum and other organizations in Ukrainian Village are holding a blood drive Feb. 1

Museum administrator Orysia Kourbatov said the idea to host a blood drive came from her sister, who heard about a similar initiative in Australia and wanted to replicate it the United States.

“Somebody was doing it in Australia to support the community that has been so generous, and outpoured with help, money-wise, just support-wise, everything,” she said.

The Ukrainian Village event will be followed by another in Michigan the next day.

The drive is about recognizing all the neighbors who have donated to relief efforts, attended rallies and events and flown Ukrainian flags outside their houses, Kourbatov said.

“Our state, our communities have all rallied, and we honestly do feel that love coming from everywhere,” Kourbatov said. “People were coming and saying, ‘Where can we donate? What can we do?'”

Museum volunteer Oksana Ustenko fled Ukraine last year with her two daughters and mother. Her husband remains in the country, where he is fighting against the Russians, she said.

Ustenko has never donated blood before, but she said she was determined to participate as a gesture of gratitude to the country that has taken in her family.

“People give blood to help others, but this one is even more; it’s to say thank you,” she said. “America has accepted us and helped us to be away from the war, to give us shelter away from the war, and we are very grateful for that.”

The blood drive is one of several upcoming events at the Ukrainian National Museum.

The exhibition “Mom, I Don’t Want War” runs through Feb. 10. It features drawings from children living in war-torn Ukraine as well as children who lived in Nazi-occupied Poland.

The museum is also hosting a screening 7 p.m. Friday of “UKE,” a documentary about Ukrainians who have played in the NHL.

Director and producer Volodymyr Mula will be present for a Q&A. Tickets are $30, with all proceeds going to buy equipment for Ukrainian soldiers fighting Russia, Kourbatov said.

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