‘Sad and Heartbreaking': Lowell Father Fears for Young Children Sheltering in Ukraine

Sam Hy, whose family escaped the genocide in Cambodia, is worried about the safety of his children — ages 5 and 7 — who are with his ex-wife in Kharkiv as Russia attacks Ukraine

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A father in Lowell, Massachusetts, says he is trying to stay sane as he worries about the safety of his two young children in Ukraine.

Sam Hy keeps his phone close for any word on his children — ages 5 and 7 — as they seek shelter in a basement in Ukraine.

"For me, right now, it's hard because there's distance," Hy said. "I'm not there with them."

Hy's family escaped the genocide in Cambodia, but he never imagined that one day, his own children would be listening to the sounds of explosions nearby.

"I've always been an ambassador for peace, love and unity, and just to see this happening is very heartbreaking," he said. "It's too close to home."

Hy says his ex-wife, the mother of his children, recently sent photos of empty shelves and long lines outside a nearby store.

"Just to see it empty and bare, and just to see the line all the way down, with hundreds of people just outside, and just to think — waiting in line while hearing bombs — how insane is that?" he asked. "What kind of reality is that?"

Right now, Hy says there aren't any set plans for them to evacuate because he doesn't think it's safe.

"For me, they're with children, so I think it would be too risky to even travel with children that young and put them at risk," Hy said.

Desperate to do what he can from thousands of miles away, Hy is trying to raise money for his family and their neighbors in Kharkiv to help them buy food, water and first aid kits.

"It's just very sad and heartbreaking for me to see them go through this right now," Hy said. "I feel like they're going to be OK. They're going to survive, they're going to be OK. Just like how my family survived, my kids will survive."

Hy says if necessary, that money will also be used to help them leave Ukraine once it's safe to do so.

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