Halyna Krylyuk, a first-year student at Stony Brook University’s Renaissance School of Medicine, said it “has been difficult to focus on anything but the brutal reality of the war” in her native Ukraine, but she is determined to help in any way she can.
To that end, Krylyuk has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise $5,000 to help purchase much-needed tactical medical supplies for those on the ground in Ukraine. The money raised will be donated to Razom, an organization that has been helping Ukraine since Russia’s first invasion in 2014.
Krylyuk was born in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, and moved to the United States with her parents at age five. The Brooklyn, New York, resident said she regularly spent childhood summers in Ukraine and that all of her family — besides her parents and brother — still live there, in the western part of the country. Krylyuk said that her family has not needed to evacuate, but that sirens ring constantly, sending them to bomb shelters often.
Ukrainians are facing food shortages, and Krylyuk said her grandparents continue to work their farmland along with other farmers who have started to plant this year’s harvest in order to maintain the food supply by any means possible. “My family has been cooking food, sewing underwear and weaving camouflage nets for the troops,” Krylyuk said. “Even if the war were to end tomorrow, Ukraine will face hardship for a long time due to the severe extent of the humanitarian crimes and attacks on infrastructure. Aid will be needed for a long time.”
Krylyuk attended Macaulay Honors College at CUNY Hunter College before coming to Stony Brook, and said she wants to “build a career that allows me to give back” — to her parents for their support, to medicine by working in research or academia, and to Ukraine.
“I always dreamed of being able to help my home country, but to be someone of influence both in America and abroad seemed like a larger-than-life goal,” she said. “Now, I see so many grassroots movements that are making a difference in Ukraine, and it makes the vision for my future much clearer. I realize that you do not have to be a millionaire to make a difference, you just have to be a person with passion and drive.”
As of April 11, the campaign had raised more than $2,400 of its $5,000 goal, and Krylyuk said she is thankful for the support, which has helped her stay positive. “It is very heartwarming to see the names of my classmates show up in the fundraiser, it means a lot to me that they care about my home country,” she said, adding that the efforts of other Stony Brook students like Thomas Brinkley have also been amazing to see in action. “I can only hope that the response of global politicians becomes as fiercely supportive of Ukraine as the global response of the people has been.”