‘Every day felt like a last day,’ says Ukrainian family now living in Vegas

By Kim Passoth

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (KVVU) — A Ukrainian family starting a new life in Las Vegas by sharing their heartbreaking story of escape from their war-torn homeland. Everything they had known was destroyed. They came to southern Nevada with nothing, knowing no one.

“Living here is rather difficult,” shared Nikita Goloborodko. “It’s another country, another piece of the world… but in the end we decided because we don’t have anything in Ukraine, the war has destroyed everything we have, apartments, business, we don’t have nothing, so we want to start a new life here”, Goloborodko added.

This is their hometown of Irpin, Ukraine is unlivable and heavily damaged in the fighting.

“On the first day of the war, February 24, I take my family and we go to our grandmother and grandfather in the village… This village is near the border… we were like at the epicenter of this war,” Goloborodko explained.

A photo of mum Natalie and baby Nicole sleeping in a cave on a bed of potatoes shows how the family lived for 35 days: underground, without electricity or water.

“At night, when they stopped shooting, we would go upstairs to cook and come down…every day was like a last day,” Goloborodko said.

When the opportunity to escape presented itself, the family seized it. A friend helped pay for the trip.

Father, mother and daughter arrived in the United States over the Mexican border and Lighthouse Charities, a nonprofit based north of Las Vegas that helps refugees rebuild their lives, stepped in.

“They gave us this apartment…they had sponsors who helped out,” Goloborodko said.

Having nothing to return to their country of origin, the family will never return there. America and Las Vegas are their future.

“We had restaurants, cafes in Ukraine but they are destroyed, so our big dream is to open our own restaurant like we had there in the United States,” beamed Goloborodko.

Lighthouse Charities is looking for host families in Las Vegas to host Ukrainian refugees. They also accept donations for families, such as gas cards and grocery cards.

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