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Ukrainian girl celebrates 8th birthday with new friends in Halifax after fleeing home country

Click to play video: 'Volunteers throw birthday party for girl who fled home in Ukraine' Volunteers throw birthday party for girl who fled home in Ukraine
Ukrainians fleeing the war have undeniably given up a lot: their homes, their jobs – leaving behind friends and family. But children missing out on some of the simplest things can be the most difficult. Which is why people in Halifax rallied together to make sure a young Ukrainian refugee didn’t miss out on her birthday party. Alicia Draus has more. – Jun 13, 2022

New friends and strangers came together in Halifax to make sure a young Ukrainian girl celebrated her eighth birthday in style.

Masha Starynchunk flew into Halifax last week with her mother and brother, and is heading to Saskatoon later this week where her family plans to settle. They were forced to flee their home in Ukraine – the Russian invasion there has displaced at least 15 million people.

Read more: More than 300 Ukrainians fleeing Russian invasion have arrived in Halifax

Kelly Lynn, who lives in Saskatoon, will be helping the family when they arrive, but she wanted to make sure Masha’s birthday didn’t go unnoticed.

So she posted to Reddit, asking Haligonians if they would help celebrate, and that’s how the party came to be.

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“Just to see what they’ve been through and to learn the seven-year-old was just devastated at the thought of nobody being able to come to her birthday, it just really puts things in perspective that this is just happening to normal kids,” Lynn said.

“It tugged at the heart strings hearing she was worried she wouldn’t have a birthday.”

Jade Fraser whipped up a cake and made sure there were plenty of snacks on hand. Robyn Cosh stopped by with a present and helped to decorate.

“I’ve got a lot of nieces and nephews and I thought everyone loves gifts, especially when you’re little, so I didn’t want her to miss getting a gift on her birthday,” Cosh said.

Click to play video: 'Ukrainians, Nova Scotians come together at fundraiser to support country’s defense' Ukrainians, Nova Scotians come together at fundraiser to support country’s defense
Ukrainians, Nova Scotians come together at fundraiser to support country’s defense – Apr 23, 2022

Masha’s mother, Anastasia, said she was overwhelmed by the generosity of strangers.

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Read more: N.S. couple sponsors Ukrainian family to Pictou County, organizing local benefit concert

“I was impressed, surprised, (excited) at the same time,” she told Global News.

And the smile on Masha’s face said it all.

“She wake up today at three o’clock, then at four and asked me, ‘Oh can we start?’ For her, it’s most important celebration in the year.”

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