Posh Spice’s husband, also known as David Beckham, gave over his social media platform this weekend to a Ukrainian doctor in Kharkiv. The tattooed heartthrob and retired soccer star has a combined following of 127.5 million, so it was no small deal. He posted a video with a caption reading, “Today I’m handing over my social channels to Iryna, the Head of the Regional Perinatal Centre in Kharkiv, Ukraine where she is helping mothers give birth.” He went on to implore people to learn about the work they’re doing to save lives in the besieged city, and also to donate to the humanitarian efforts working to help Ukrainians in the midst of war, namely UNICEF.
The doctor was identified by opposition TV channel Nexta TV as Irina Kondratova. During the social media hand-off on Sunday, she offered a harrowing depiction of life in Ukraine, showing firsthand through photos and videos what new mothers in the country must deal with right now as Russia continues its attacks. First, Iryna showed followers the grim basement at her center that expecting mothers were evacuated to on the first day of the Russian invasion. “It was a terrible three hours that we spent together,” she said, while also lamenting that the babies in intensive care who require machines to survive could not be moved, adding another terrifying layer to the portrait of this humanitarian crisis.
Iryna also discussed how the medical care providers there “had to learn how to work with bombings and strikes.” She reported that now her workdays are 24/7, and she’s no longer just the head of the center and a pediatric anesthesiologist, but she must also “unload cargo” and “works on logistics and offers emotional support.” She showed one woman named Yana with her newborn baby boy Mykhailo, and told their story in which Mykhailo was born in the war zone with breathing difficulties. Iryna said the baby recovered, but now Yana and Mykhailo don’t have anywhere to go because their house was destroyed in a Russian bombing.
As devastating as Iryna’s accounts are, she expressed some of the Ukrainian bravery that we’re all globally witnessing as the country’s people refuse to back down to the horrific Russian invasion. “We are probably risking our lives, but we don't think about it at all,” she said. “We love our work...Doctors and nurses here, we worry, we cry, but none of us will give up.” And while it’s bizarre and upsetting that we’re watching a war unfold via social media from the safety of our own circumstances, it is a powerful tool when wielded properly to help. It has not been reported how much money has been raised via the UNICEF donation link in Iryna’s stories on Beckham’s accounts, and he has not responded for request for comment — but it was likely a hefty sum. Beckham has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2005. Iryna’s stories are saved in the highlights of Beckham’s social media accounts, where they can continue to be viewed.