The cosmonaut-turned-artist is raising money for war-torn Ukraine. He has donated proceeds from the sale of his first art project to ambulances and generators for Ukrainians and is also an ambassador for the United24 fundraising platform.
This is the story of a former American astronaut who has taken on the ambitious task of helping Ukrainians with their basic needs as Russia's full-scale invasion rages on. Scott Kelly is 59 years old and holds the record for the longest stay on board the International Space Station.
Last October, he was contacted by United24, a global crowdfunding campaign launched by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to help his country.
In an interview with Euronews he said: I think the reason I was asked or I know, the reason I was asked is because I think, it was noticed that right from the beginning of this war, I was very vocal on social media".
Scott Kelly did not hesitate for more than a second before accepting the proposal, becoming one of United24's ambassadors alongside actor Mark Hamill or even singer and actress Barbra Streisand,
€600,000 of funds, 10 ambulances
In a few months, he raised nearly €600,000, enough to buy at least 10 state-of-the-art ambulances, capable of transporting patients in a state of absolute emergency. As a paramedic in his youth, he knows the importance of first aid.
"As an astronaut, within a space flight crew, there are always two members designated as medical referents. If there is a doctor on board, then he will generally be one of his two referents I've always been one of those people with that past experience, so it's something important, almost nostalgic for me."
In November 2022, the former astronaut travels to Ukraine. He meets injured children in hospitals and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The father of two who has carried out no less than four missions in space was surprised that people have not been able to help Ukrainians more: "We have these problems on Earth and I'm flying around the Earth on this one hundred, billion dollar space station. Arguably, the most challenging, hardest thing we've ever done. And if we can do that, why can't we solve that problem down there?"