Soccer legend David Beckham has lent his Instagram account to a doctor in Ukraine to put a spotlight on the “amazing work” by medical professionals providing care during Russia’s invasion of the country.
The former English national team and Manchester United star handed over his platform with more than 71 million followers to Iryna, the head of the regional perinatal center in Kharkiv, where she’s helping mothers give birth safely.
Iryna, who is only identified by her first name, gave a first-person account of what a day in her life is like on Instagram Stories. Video clips showed her next to new mothers, pregnant women and babies on oxygen generators donated by UNICEF. She said she works at the hospital “24/7 now” and “I’m here all day.”
In one of the videos, Iryna discussed how “difficult” the early days of the war in Ukraine were. She said on the first day of the invasion, all pregnant women were evacuated to the basement and eventually, they grew accustomed to it.
“We had to learn how to work with bombings and strikes,” she said.
On top of being head of the center, Iryna said her duties include working as a pediatric anesthesiologist, unloading cargo, handling logistics and offering emotional support. She said there’s no other place she and her staff would rather be.
“We are probably risking our lives, but we don’t think about it at all,” she wrote. “We love our work.”
The social media campaign was part of an emergency fundraising appeal on behalf of UNICEF and Beckham, a goodwill ambassador for the humanitarian aid organization. Beckham’s “7 Fund,” will help UNICEF provide “immediate aid, shelter, food and medical supplies to those most in need in Ukraine.”
“Please continue to support these incredible people and charities like UNICEF in any way that you can. Together we can really make a difference,” Beckham said.
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for CBS News, focusing on sports and stories that involve issues of race and culture.