Retired soccer star David Beckham handed over his Instagram account with over 70 million followers to a Ukrainian doctor caring for pregnant people and babies amid Russia’s invasion.
David Beckham is a former English professional football player. During his playing days, he became one of the most famous footballers in the world owing to his successful stints at some of the most famous clubs and also for his skills as a midfielder that elevated him above many of his contemporaries. Beckham started off as a footballer in his hometown of London and played for some local clubs before he entered the training scheme for young players at Manchester United. At Manchester United, David Beckham tasted success as the club went on an unprecedented winning spree through the mid and late 1990s. He won the coveted ‘treble’ with Manchester United and became one of their most famous players before going on to play for Real Madrid, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Major League Soccer team LA Galaxy in the United States.
In an effort to raise funds for families and children in Ukraine through UNICEF, the doctor, identified as Irina Kondratova, shared that she was the head of Kharkiv’s regional pre-natal center.
Kharkiv is six hours from Kyiv and the country’s second-largest city.
“Today I’m going to show you how we work in times of war and who we have become during these war days,” she said on Beckham’s account with 71.6 million followers.
Kondratova said on the first day of attacks, all pregnant people and mothers were evacuated to the basement of the hospital where they spent three “terrible” hours together and walked through the small corridors where the patients slept.
Babies in the intensive care unit hooked up to life-saving equipment could not come, another clip said. “The first days were the most difficult. We had to learn how to work with bombings and strikes,” a caption read while she was checking a baby being held by a woman.
In another clip, Kondratova said she now works 24/7 and also helps unload cargo, work on logistics and offers emotional support.
Through a series of photos of women and their babies, Kondratova said the funds from UNICEF were very important. For example, donated generators help provide oxygen to children in the basement.
“We are probably risking our lives, but we don’t think about it at all,” she said. “We love our work.”
On Instagram, Beckham urged his followers to donate to UNICEF and check his story to learn what other health care workers are doing to save lives in Ukraine.
“Together we can really make a difference,” he concluded the video.
Kharkiv has seen violent shelling by Russia since the beginning of the conflict between the two countries. Last month, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy called the acts “state terrorisms” and demanded justice in international courts.
In 2015, Beckham announced the 7: The David Beckham UNICEF Fund project after his 10th year as an ambassador for the organization to “help children in every corner of the world.”
“Everything I have done, my football career, my family, has led to this point. This is the moment for me to do what I can to help children in every corner of the world,” he told reporters at the time.