Man, has life been extremely busy! Teaching 18 units, coaching bootcamps, being on the board of a non profit, WSYC work, and training for Spartan races keeps me busy. I wish I had more time to write and update you all more regularly on the amazing things that are going on, but I will keep this post specific!
I am sure we are all quite aware of the ongoing war in Ukraine and the innocent lives that it continues to unnecessarily impact. Not only are the Ukrainian people being displaced, killed, and endangered, but so are their animals and the wildlife that call Ukraine home.
Watching the events unfold on the news week after week has reminded me just how important it is that we all do the little we can to help whenever possible. Personally, I cannot sit by and watch the wreckless killing of people, devastation of a country, and endangerment of animals that this war continues to cause. So, after doing a bit of research I decided to launch my largest Sweat to Protect fundraising and advocacy campaign yet for UAnimals; a Ukrainian non profit working on the frontlines to protect, provide medical care, shelter, and food to animals who are also suffering because of the war. UAnimals provides resources, transportation, and the communications necessary for those who remain on the ground at shelters, zoos, (and even in their houses) as the Russians continue to invade. Brave does not even do them justice.
Normally, UAnimals is one of Ukraine’s leading animal non profits assisting with humane education and the establishment of animal welfare related policies – all while assisting various shelters and rescues across the country with their work. Now, they have adapted to one of the leading humanitarian groups helping people and animals on the ground continue to carry out their work and stay safe the best that they can.
After reaching out to @Uanimals.official on Instagram, I was able to get in contact with their cofounder, Olga Chevganiuk and schedule a brief interview to get her insights into everything going on and what UAnimals is currently doing. I have included a brief segment of the interview below, but you can watch the full interview on my YouTube page. In this interview, Alex Prange also joins us. Alex is one of the trainers at a participating gym in this particular Sweat to Protect initiatve and has been integral in helping to spread awareness.
So, after speaking with Olga, I reached out to 4 of my favorite gyms/trainers – Training Mate in LA, No Limit Personal Training in Placentia, Cynthia Hill (my amazing Spartan training coach), and my @brittfit_live on Instagram. Together, we are joining forces to host various bootcamps over the next two weeks where all funds will be donated to UAnimals in hopes of helping to keep more animals alive and safe as their caretakers do all they can to provide for them.
In addition, I was even able to snag an interview in LA with Elex Michaelson of Fox 11 this week to help advocate for UAnimals and this initiative. We filmed at Training Mate, one of the participating gyms and it was such a blessing to know that the not so often focused on story of animals amidst the war will hopefully get some much needed coverage. Below is a picture of Elex interviewing me and a few more. The full story should air on Fox 11 tonight at 10pm (March 29, 2022) and at various times throughout the rest of the week.
It is my heart’s greatest desire to assist UAnimals from afar as they fight to protect animals of all kinds. Some of the challenges Olga shared range from the dangers of transporting larger animals (like tigers and bears) during a war, dealing with the differences in animal care standards neighboring countries maintain, and just trying to keep volunteers and staff alive each day. I cannot even imagine what they have seen and the feelings they must be experiencing as they rescue animals from the rubble, injured by shrapnel, or just separated from their owners.
So, how can you help?
Visit the gofundme link: http://www.gofundme.com/sweattoprotectukraine and share their story with your friends and family. You might also consider tuning in to Fox 11 this week in the evenings to see the story we share. More directly, you can make a donation of any size via the gofundme and/or attend one of the 4 Sweat to Protect bootcamps over the next two weeks! All details are provided via the gofundme link, but here is a general outline of the events:
I said I was going to be specific in this post – so although I have much more I could say about all this, I will wrap it up there! Thank you for reading, for caring, for participating, and for being you.