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NOLA Ukrainian-born DJ rescues parents from Poland; Parlay’s looks to raise money

Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 10:27 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 15, 2022 at 10:30 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A Ukrainian-born local DJ just got back from rescuing his parents who fled to Poland while trying to escape the Russian bombardment of their besieged city.

They are now safe in New Orleans, but their struggles are far from over.

“Prayers do work because the way I got my parents out of there, the way they got out of there is nothing short of a miracle,” Vlad Sergeyev said.

When he and his parents got to New Orleans on Friday, it was the first night Vlad Sergeyev got a decent night’s sleep.

“I slept better knowing they sleep well because they couldn’t get any sleep while there were over there in Ukraine,” Vlad said. “My mom told me there’s a difference between a thunder and an explosion and is it something you just you just don’t forget.”

Vlad has lived in the U.S. for 17 years now, but his parents still live in Kharkiv, the second-largest city in Ukraine and an important Russian target that has been pummeled daily.

“The city is pretty much destroyed now,” Vlad said.

His parents, 68 and 70 years old, decided to leave when a bridge next to their home exploded, starting a long three-day journey to Warsaw, Poland.

“Train stations are overfilled, people in trains stand in the compartments where you have normally four people, tops, there were six to eight people,” Vlad described. “People would sleep sitting down just to get out of there.”

Vlad was able to get to Poland and volunteer while he waited for his father’s visa to clear.

“While my story is ending relatively well, if you can say that, there are a lot of stories that are not,” Vlad said while fighting back tears. “I’ve seen a lot of people that are desperate and don’t have anywhere to go. They’re adults that ask me questions. What should I do? Where should I go?”

He still has a cousin and friends there and feels helpless. He hopes to go back to Poland once his parents are settled.

“We’re all human beings and if that would happen to your neighbors, would you stand idly by? Is that your level of human? Would you just let it happen?” Vlad said. “We’re all in this together. There is no running away from this.”

“We need to help everybody out that we can. I mean, we’re in New Orleans. We’re a big melting pot,” Parlay’s Manager, Christopher Smith said.

Vlad DJ’s at Parlay’s and Smith says there was no hesitation to try and help out a man they consider family, they’re selling jello shots to raise some money.

“There’s a lot of people who just want to donate the money and not even do the jello shots and so it’s been received very well. We’ve had a couple of hundred sales so far and you know, we’ve only been doing it for three or four days,” Smith said.

While money won’t fix the lives and livelihoods lost, Vlad says it will help their troops fight back.

“People over there still have hope and as we all know, hope dies last and I pray that it will never die and that our troops will prevail,” Vlad said.

Parlay’s is working on a massive fundraiser and they are looking for sponsors to donate things like items and gift cards. They’ll be trying to raise as much money as they can.

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