Danielle Loy, Ereny Rizk, Liubov Nykolyshyn and Oksana Bodnarchuk

Danielle Loy, Ereny Rizk, Liubov Nykolyshyn and Oksana Bodnarchuk

33, 45, 39 and 44 Years Old

(She/Her) / (She/Her) / (She/Her) / (She/Her)
Class of 2022

There are so many people in our community who work behind the scenes and do things without pay and recognition.

There are so many yet we might not ever hear about them because they are not in the public eye. This team of dedicated and committed volunteers, people of goodwill and kind hearts is a symbol of all those who deserve to be at least thanked.

The response to the invasion of Ukrainian was a great example of the worldwide grassroots movement. Never before have ordinary citizens stood up to this extent to provide help. The passion and commitment to this cause are unbelievable. Liubov and Oksana made thousands of perogies and cabbage rolls for fundraisers, Danielle run a huge donations center on her own, full time, for many months – when it was needed the most and evacuee families were arriving. Ereny went above and beyond collecting items throughout the community and helping out as a medical professional on a volunteer basis when refugee families had no one to go to.

They recently chatted with YMM about their lives within the community of Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo.

YMM: What does community mean to you, Danielle?

DL: Community means to me, that people work together to create a good place to live and help one another when in need.

YMM: What is the best advice that you ever received, Ereny?

ER: You are not here by chance. God made a plan for you.

YMM: Tell us about your volunteer experience in the community, Liubov.

LN: In the community of Fort McMurray, I always liked to help out in any way I could…small acts of kindness or big favours. However, when the Russian Invasion of Ukraine started in February 2022, I realized that I needed to be there for those who are leaving their home and moving to Canada. At the very beginning of the war, we had a bake sale to raise money for Ukrainian soldiers and children who lost their parents in the war. At the bake sale, I took on the biggest challenge I had this year and made a large number of cakes, perogies and cabbage rolls. Now, there are new families who are leaving Ukraine and coming to Canada for a chance at a better life – without sirens every few hours, constant bombings and the unpredictability about the next day. I want to help these families because I know they are starting from scratch and need some support in the coming months. Our community is very considerate and charitable, especially when it comes to diversity and feeling welcome. When I  asked the people of Fort McMurray for any donations that I could collect for families coming in that month, many helped out, whether it was bicycles or clothes, mattresses or beds, cutlery or toiletries. I am also helping the coming families by finding them a place to live, and a job, shopping for them and guiding them through the process of formatting their documents. I am really glad to be a part of such an amazing community and thankful to all those who help in any way they can, every day.

YMM: Describe your perfect day in YMM, Oksana.

OB: In the garden, with a picnic,  working in the flower bed and listening to birds chirping

YMM: What keeps you in YMM, Danielle?

DL: Our family is in Fort McMurray and we feel it is important to stay close to them while raising our children. They have six cousins that live within a few blocks of us, and I think that is really special.

YMM: Who is your hero and why, Ereny?

ER: My hero is my priest, Father Paula because he still supports me even until this moment.

YMM: What is the most rewarding part of your career, Liubov?

LN: I really enjoyed working at the Medical University in Ukraine, because I saw progress in each student I taught. There were many times when my students were successful and received invitations to large conferences and news channels. They became great doctors and that motivated me to further continue my work. I was rewarded by the fact that my students were reaching great things in their life.

YMM: What is the biggest challenge you’ve taken on this year, Oksana?

OB: The biggest challenge is waiting till the war is over ASAP, praying that all will be safe.

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