EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – As the war in Ukraine continues, over 30 people signed up for a friendly tennis competition in Eau Claire to raise money to help those impacted by the conflict.
The Ripeckyj family has close ties with Ukraine. Danylo Ripeckyj says his grandparents came to the US after World War II.
“And then my parents are first-generation and I’m second-generation Ukrainian,” Danylo said.
Danylo’s parents Natalia and Yuri both have family currently in Ukraine.
“Our family, luckily, is in western Ukraine. So at this moment, they’ve been spared most of the brutality.,” Natalia said. “However, we’re seeing influxes of refugees, people without homes coming into their city.”
To do their part to help, Danylo and Yuri took part in the John Fay Menard Tennis Centers Peace for Ukraine fundraiser on Saturday.
“This is kind of our way of just giving our support to the Ukrainians and hoping that everyone else gives their support,” Danylo said.
Yuri says he’s happy to play for a good cause while being able to spend time with his son.
“There’s that the good patriotic part that I appreciate and then I feel lucky to play with him because he’s an amazing tennis player,” Yuri said.
Like Danylo and Yuri, people of different ages and skill levels signed up for the doubles tournament.
“Just the various ages just shows how widespread that is and how everyone cares,” Danylo said.
Yuri says it’s amazing to see the community come together to rally behind Ukraine.
“It’s wonderful to have so much support in the community and that so many people took the time to come out today and have a little fun and bring attention to the critical situation that’s in Ukraine right now,” Yuri said.
“They realize that Ukraine was a young democracy and they’re also in pain seeing it being destroyed and try to try to be wiped out by the Russian invasion,” Natalia said.
Danylo says even small events like the tennis fundraiser can help those going through trying times in another country.
“Really just even just bringing awareness to the situation across the world,” Danylo said.
The money raised from Saturday’s tennis tournament will go to the United Nations Children’s Fund or UNICEF.
Natalia says the goal is for the money to help children who have been displaced, orphaned, or even hurt due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Copyright 2022 WEAU. All rights reserved.