PHOENIX — “Reading the news is one thing and being there is another, I feel like I am supposed to be there with my family,” said 16-year-old Dana Furman Tuesday.
The foreign exchange student’s heart remains in her home country of Ukraine as her family and friends remain on the frontlines of a catastrophic and heartbreaking war.
“I’m really worried every day, I think about it every minute,” said Furman.
Furman says some of her favorite places to visit are now unrecognizable. Dreadful thoughts of what could happen, seem to be unavoidable as her parents hunker down and when necessary, fight back in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
“I have a fear that there’s a chance I’m never going to see my mom again or I’m never going to talk to my parents again, or I’m never going to see my friends,” said Furman with tears rolling down her cheeks.
It’s a fear that also motivates her to do something to help. The Paradise Valley High Schooler is raising money for family friends who own a business back home making bullet-proof vests and sleeping bags for the country's civilian forces.
“There’s just basically not enough supplies for everyone because we have so many volunteers who want to help and defend their country,” said Furman.
So far, she’s raised around $2,200 from our generous community, hoping to eventually hit her goal of $3,000. Every cent helps to keep that lifesaving work underway.
“I’m not in danger but my family is, I want to protect them, I want to find a way I can help,” said Furman.
Furman has set up an online fundraiser, here for anyone who would like to help.