In less than one week, Whistler local Katarina Jezowiczova will be flying out to Prague where she will rent a car, purchase supplies and drive to Poland where she plans to help in any way she can—whether it's driving Ukrainian refugees where they need to go, or getting supplies to soldiers on the Ukraine border.
Being from Eastern Europe herself, the war in Ukraine hits close to home for Jezowiczova, who felt like she needed to do anything she could to help support Ukraine.
“It's not just about Ukraine. For me, I just can’t watch it, I just feel very angry about what is going on and they just need help. I just feel like those people in Ukraine are so brave and they are doing very, very well but they still need a lot of help from us,” she said.
“Living here I could just turn a blind eye on it and just live quite happily because it doesn't affect us directly. But I don't know, I just can't, because if we let it happen with Ukraine, next it can just get further away and my family lives in Czech Republic and it's close.
“So not everyone can just drop everything that they have in their life and go and help. And somehow, I just realized I can. My job is going to be here when I come back. My landlords were super helpful, they lowered the rent for me for the next two months so I can actually afford to go, and my friend is going to watch my dog.”
To raise money for her mission, Jezowiczova and her friend Mila Lane decided to host a fundraiser at the Whistler Racket Club (WRC) on Saturday, April 9, which will feature a silent auction of items donated from all over the Sea to Sky as well as live music from Vancouver-based band Buddy and the Scarecrow.
“Kat approached Mila just a couple weeks ago and said that she'd like to do a fundraiser, and Mila being my girlfriend said let’s do it at the Whistler Racket Club, because you can do a pickleball tournament, you can do live music, you can do anything there,” said WRC co-owner Jamie Grant. “So what we decided on was let’s get a really good band and have a good Saturday night of dancing and raise as much money as we can for Kat and her mission.”
Items being auctioned off will include everything from water bottles, ski and bike goggles and gift cards from various local businesses to one-night stays at hotels like Nita Lake Lodge and the Four Seasons as well as various local adventure packages like ziplining with Ziptrek and paddle boarding with Whistler Eco Tours, among many other items.
Jezowizcova has also received some donations directly to her cause like $5,000 from comedian Chelsea Handler and plane tickets to and from Prague paid for by Ben Thomas and VIP Mountain Holidays.
Separate from Jezowiczova’s fundraiser, in the morning and early afternoon on Saturday the club will be welcoming in 12-time grand slam doubles champion Daniel Nestor for a doubles clinic and pro-am match, with the silent auction for Jezowiczova running throughout the day.
For those looking to come watch Buddy and the Scarecrow and support the cause, doors will open at 6 p.m. There will be a $30 cover charge—which includes a drink—with all proceeds going towards Jezowiczova’s mission.
To book tickets ahead of time, call the Racket Club at 604-932-1991. Tickets will also be sold at the door until sold out.