He says you don’t have to be a millionaire to help. As he says, he is an ordinary resident of Amsterdam who simply likes running. The 28-year-old Dutchman decided to use his passion to support Ukrainians. To make Europeans aware that the war was taking place right next door, he ran from Amsterdam to Kiev. At the same time, he collected over 60,000 euros for the purchase of ambulances for Ukraine.
50 days, four countries, two and a half thousand kilometers – a Dutch runner who set off from Amsterdam in July reached Kiev. He observed a minute of silence on the Maidan to commemorate the victims of the Russian invasion. – The police escorted us for the last 13 kilometers. We met many people along the way who supported us. I saw that they felt our support, and that’s what this project is all about, says Boas Kragtwijk.
Boas began his run on July 22. He covered about 60 kilometers every day. The 28-year-old was accompanied on the trip by a photographer and a trainer. In Poland, his struggles were followed by the TVN24 BiS camera.
– The most difficult moment of the expedition was when Boas was reaching Warsaw. He broke down several times. I think the over 35-degree heat contributed to this – recalls Bram Vogels, coach.
The runner’s goal was to raise money for ambulances for Ukraine. Boas also wanted to show that war is never far away. He found out for himself what it looked like. – We spent the first night in a shelter in Lviv. We visited a rehabilitation center where we talked to victims and soldiers. We could see the impact of this war, says the Dutchman.
Running through Ukraine was a huge risk. Boas could only run along the main roads. Right behind him in a special evacuation vehicle was his photographer, who intends to stay in Ukraine to document the war. – I took part in this expedition to show the world what is happening in Ukraine, to share it on the Internet, because it is really important – emphasizes Beau Tilli, photographer.
The collection is still ongoing
The Dutch runner’s team managed to collect over EUR 60,000, which is enough to buy two ambulances for Ukraine, but the collection is still ongoing. – For the extra money we will be able to buy another ambulance. It will be ready within two weeks. One ambulance means up to 25 lives saved every day, Boas points out.
Boas has been helping Ukrainians for over a year. When the Russians attacked Ukraine, he was on the Polish-Ukrainian border, supporting refugees. By running from Amsterdam to Kiev, he wanted to show that you don’t have to be a millionaire to help others.
– Many things that I take for granted in the Netherlands turned out to be very fragile in Ukraine. It’s a sense of security or a roof over your head. My view of the world has changed. I hope that I will inspire others to help, says the 28-year-old. For now, Boas wants to rest, but he admits that he is already thinking about what else he could do for Ukraine.
Facts about the World TVN24 BiS
Main photo source: Ultra4Ukraine