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'I know the feeling' | 21-year-old raised in a Ukrainian orphanage flying to Poland to help refugees

Nastya Boyd was born in Ukraine. She was adopted by an American family seven years ago. Now, she feels like she needs to do everything she can to help.

PEARLAND, Texas — A restaurant server in Pearland has a personal connection to the conflict in Ukraine.

Nastya Boyd, 21, was born there. She and her siblings spent several years in a Ukrainian orphanage. Boyd and her youngest brother were adopted by an American family seven years ago.

With many relatives still in Ukraine, she said her life was turned upside down when Russia invaded.

“When I called my sister, I could hear the explosion. I can hear my sister crying, my nephew crying. I will never forget that moment of this craziness,” she said.

She knew she needed to do more to help.

“I prayed about it. I said, ‘God, you know my heart. You know what I want to do. If it’s your will, I will go,’” Boyd said.

Boyd works at Magnolia Cajun Comfort in Pearland. Within days, chef/owner Steve Haug had organized a fundraiser, raising more than $6,000.

“People were coming in from open to close. It was crazy but good crazy,” Haug said.

Boyd said she is incredibly thankful to the Pearland community and every person who donated to her cause. She will be on a plane to Poland by Thursday. She’ll get her sister and nephew to safety first, then she’ll help other refugees.

“I know the feeling. It’s the worst feeling you can ever feel that you have no home,” Boyd said. “I want to be there for my people. I want to hug these kids and say, ‘Everything will be OK because it’s in God’s hands.’”

She will be helping Ukrainian refugees through the organization HiS Print Ministries.

If you’d like to donate to Nastya, you can send money via Venmo to @Nastya-Boyd. If you are asked for the last four digits of her phone number, they are 8515.

Stephanie Whitfield on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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