Kirsten Allen's true passion has always been dancing ballet. She says it’s in the dance she finds a sense of community and humanity. Feelings that recently have become more true than ever.
“It was heartbreaking watching what was happening in Ukraine and so I thought maybe if I reach out to someone in my industry, the ballet world, then they would respond and we can communicate on how I can help,” said Allen.
It’s through the ballet world that Allen was able to connect with Oleksii Potiomkin, a fellow dancer in Ukraine who had been forced to put his true passion aside to take up arms for Ukraine.
“I was asking, ‘what do you need most?’ said Allen. “And he said, ‘well Kirsten, I don't have a helmet.”
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Allen got straight to work that night looking to find a way to get some much-needed protection for her new friend.
“I had never in my life researched tactical gear, I have never held a gun,” said Allen. “I’m a ballet dancer myself that's definitely out of my sense of normalcy but we’ve become good friends and I wanted to help him.”
In a matter of days, she had a plan.
“We carved out this channel through two other ballet dancers in Amsterdam,” said Allen. “[We connected with] another man named Oleksii and another man named Stanislaus, two ballet dancers. I shipped supplies to them and they created a convoy through Poland to get the items to the western side of Ukraine and then a friend of Oleksii drove the items to him.”
Now she’s launched a fundraiser hoping to get more supplies into the country.
“I can't watch it and sit back and do nothing,” said Allen. “I have to do something. My heart bleeds for these people.”