How a CA Ukrainian mountaineer is raising funds for medical relief in war-torn country

Tara Campbell Image
Monday, September 25, 2023
CA Ukrainian mountaineer raising funds for medical relief
Ukrainian American Yulia Zimmermann helped lead the First Ukrainian Women Expedition to summit Mont Blanc in the French Alps, raising funds to deliver an ambulance to her home country.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A local woman is stepping in to help those fighting on the frontlines in Ukraine, and for her it's personal.

Ukrainian American Yulia Zimmermann helped lead the First Ukrainian Women Expedition to summit Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in the French Alps and often considered the deadliest among climbers.

"Every time. Every expedition like this is life-changing for everybody," Zimmermann said.

Zimmermann is a seasoned mountaineer with much of her training done out her backdoor in the Tahoe region.

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"It was very difficult. It was mentally and physically challenging," she said.

Zimmerman climbed Mont Blanc with her friend from London and two fellow Ukrainians. She put her expertise towards helping on the frontlines of the war -- raising funds for medical relief.

"We decided that coming back stronger will allow us to continue to fight, continue helping," she said. "And as a part of the expedition, we're going to raise funds for yet another ambulance and we were really just grateful that people supported us."

Zimmerman has made the trip to Ukraine herself.

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"Yeah, it's risky, but people still live there and the country is fighting the least I can do is to go there for a week and deliver this ambulance," she said.

While there she got an up-close look at the ruins of war.

"I don't know how to live with this trauma of witnessing my country and my people being killed just because they won't kneel," Zimmerman said.

On Sunday, yet another Russian air strike hit, on the heels of President Zelenkskyy's visit to Washington in hopes of bolstering US support.

"American investment in Ukrainian security and global protection of freedom is working one-hundred percent. Every cent," Zelenkskyy said.

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However, Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy pushed back.

"I don't think I have to commit anything. Where is the accountability and money we already spent? What is the plan for victory?" McCarthy said.

Meanwhile for Ukrainian Americans like Zimmerman, it remains clear.

"So should we help Ukraine and what happens if we need help one day in this country? How would we want the rest of the world to treat us?" she said.

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