HIBS fans have rallied to support a terminally ill Ukrainian woman who has worked tirelessly for a charity they set up ten years ago.
The Dnipro Kids Appeal was formed after supporters were moved by the suffering they saw when their team faced Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the Uefa Cup in 2005.
Ira has been there since day one. She has been a tower of strength and, without her, we would never have been able to do what we have doneSteven Carr
Ira Polyashova, 56, who coordinates efforts from Ukraine, has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer – and doctors believe she has just months left to live.
When charity bosses, who use funds to provide clothes for orphans and buy medical equipment, found out they decided to start raising money for their colleague as medicines are expensive in Ukraine.
Chairman Steven Carr said: “Ira has been there since day one. She has been a tower of strength and, without her, we would never have been able to do what we have done.
“She is a totally selfless and amazing woman. She always puts others first.
“The outlook is not very good and the doctors have suggested that she may only have a few months left.”
The committee has set up a fundraising web page to help Ms Polyashova, who has been forced to give up her job as an English teacher.
She has also been left fearing for the future care of her daughters Natalie, 31, and Maria, 26, with whom she shares a one-bed flat along with her granddaughters Karina, 14, and two-year-old Dominica.
Mr Carr said: “We thought it was important to raise money for her so she can look after herself and her kids.
“We don’t want her to worry for whatever weeks and months she has left.”
Ms Polyashova left a great impression when she paid a three-week visit to the Capital in 2009 to see how the charity was run.
Now the Easter Road side has urged big-hearted supporters to donate to the cause.
A Hibs spokesman said: “Everybody at the club was saddened to learn the news about Ira Polyashova.
“Ira has played an integral role in the inspiring story of the Dnipro Kids Appeal – right from its inception through to the present day’s phenomenal success story.
“The club are determined to support the plans to help someone, who has always put the children of Dnipro first.”
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/dnipro-ira.