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Since the age of 10 years old, Alla Karytka of Belarus has been travelling to the Chateauguay Valley each summer. A survivor of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Alla, who is now 28 years old, is currently enrolled as an international student in an industrial drafting program in Montreal. To help cover her fees, Pat Walsh is organizing a blowout benefit concert on February 27 at Grove Hall in Huntingdon, starting at 8 pm.
Alla is from Chaussy, Belarus, which is located about 350 kilometres from Chernobyl, Ukraine, where a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant experienced a catastrophic surge in power leading to multiple explosions in its core. A nuclear cloud formed, and due to wind conditions at the time, settled over neighbouring Belarus. Over 800,000 children in Belarus were affected, including Alla and several others who stayed with Valley families over several summers in the late 1990s and early 2000s as respite from the daily exposure to unsafe levels of radiation that still plague the country and its citizens. Alla returned to Canada to further her education – an option that is not possible in Belarus.
“With a Canadian education, Alla will have a chance at a better life,” says event organizer Par Walsh, who has been fortunate enough to share in Alla’s story since they met back in 1997. First brought together by the Canadian Relief Fund for Chernobyl Victims in Belarus, the two clicked during Alla’s first visit, and for 17 years Alla has returned to each summer to her second home in Elgin. Pat is extremely proud of Alla’s decision to return to Canada to further her education, so much so, that she is spearheading this fundraiser and reaching out to the community for support, as she is unable to cover the cost of tuition alone.
Donations to Alla’s education fund can be made directly online at www.gofundme.com/rptkv8g. On the night of the event, Grove Hall’s doors will be open at 8 pm for this one-time event bringing together some of Montreal and the Valley’s finest musicians for a fantastic cause.
Don’t forget your dancing shoes!
Shared by Sarah Rennie