Phoenix mom raises money to reunite Ukrainian hockey player with family

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — A mom from Phoenix has a unique bond with a Ukrainian family, and she’s doing everything she can to help. In 2015, Combs and her family took in a Ukrainian teenager named Nikita Protsenko, who stayed with them in their Phoenix home. Nikita now plays hockey in Canada, but her mother and sister recently fled Ukraine and are now in Poland. Now Combs is raising money for Nikita’s family so the three can be reunited in Canada.

The Combs held a garage sale in the neighborhood on Saturday morning. Nearly 30 families made donations, helping to raise hundreds of dollars for the Protsenko family. Knick-knacks, clothes and bags lined the Combs’ front yard, and many showed up to the event, eager to help the cause and pick up some bargains.

“I’m really grateful to be able to help out and be with friends and neighbors. It’s a win-win situation for all of us,” said Janice Orick, a friend of Combs. a great thing.”

Combs says all money raised will be used to help the family as they seek to build a new life in Canada, including the costs of airfare, housing and necessities. She says 14 of Nikita’s friends are also trying to get visas to go to Canada. Phoenix’s mother also says that she sees her own family in Nikita’s family, with her two children being the same age as Nikita and her sister.

Combs says all money raised will be used to help the family as they seek to build a new life in Canada.(Arizona family)

“The feeling I have is overwhelming. It’s been great to see all my friends and family coming together; the people who volunteer in the neighborhood, the people I went to school with, the people I trained; all kinds of people come together to help another family,” Combs said.

If you would like to make a donation to help the Protsenko family, click on here.

Catherine J. Martinez