Ukrainian referee, national anthem singer join Portland Timbers and Thorns charity match

Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 5:13 AM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - The Timbers and Thorns had several special guests for the PTFC for Peace match to benefit UNICEF aid to Ukrainians.

Ukrainian national anthem singer Darka Dusty Stebivka said her parents moved to the U.S. during WWII and she now checks in on friends still in Ukraine.

She translated some of the anthem for us.

“‘We will lay down our bodies and our souls for Ukrainian liberty, for our freedom,’ that’s literally what people sing and that’s why Ukraine has put up such a valiant and incredibly unexpected fight against the Russian invasion.” she said.

Also on the pitch, the only Ukrainian PRO referee Sergii Demianchuk, who moved to the US in 2013. His parents are still there trying to stay safe. He was supposed to visit this year with his wife and kids.

“I’m ten thousand miles away from my people, from my parents, my friends, and if I can do something to help them, it’s a pleasure for me, it’s a blessing,” Demianchuk said.

The goal was to raise awareness as war continues and to raise money for UNICEF USA helping Ukrainians. Its President and CEO Michael Nyenhuis just got back from the Romanian border.

“There’s a lot of folks in the refugee community that have left Ukraine into neighboring countries. Obviously they need our help, they need basics, shelter, they need food, they need healthcare, they need trauma counseling, access to transportation, if they’re moving elsewhere. But we’re also deeply concerned about the people still in Ukraine,” he said.