11-year-old Andrii Sidorov felt lost in a new country without his Legos. But after his dad posted a plea for donations online, he received dozens of Lego sets from all over the world.
Andrii Sidorov, aged 11, fled Kyiv in late February with his father, Igor Sidorov, and his 8-year-old brother right before Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. He was only able to pack one suitcase of essential items which meant the young boy had to leave his prized collection of Legos behind. The family fled to Vienna, Austria and made their way to Galway, Ireland. His older brothers (aged 16 and 19) stayed behind to fight the war. His mother remained in Kyiv too. According to his father, he was completely devastated. While he was physically safe, he felt lost without his Legos to soothe and comfort him. His father thus posted a plea on Facebook in several groups, asking folks if they could donate some Legos to his son. To his surprise, dozens of kind strangers responded to his appeal, The Washington Post reports.
"The situation was not good," Igor Sidorov said about the invasion of Ukraine in an interview with the news outlet. "It was not safe." Once the family arrived in Ireland after the country lifted its visa requirements for Ukrainian refugees, he noticed how sad his son was without his Legos. He explained, "My son starting building with Lego at three years old. All the time, he is making different toys." Since Andrii was a toddler, playing with Legos has been his favorite pastime. He would spend many hours a day making complex creations without instruction manuals, using only his imagination. Over the years, the 11-year-old was able to acquire thousands of Lego pieces. He cherished his vast collection. In fact, just over a year ago, the young boy launched a YouTube channel and Instagram account where he chronicles his creations.
As the family tried to settle down in Ireland, however, Sidorov knew his son would not feel at home without his Legos. So, he decided to post a plea on various Facebook groups. He wrote, "[My son is] engaged in the creation and construction of various Lego toys on a semiprofessional level without instruction. We left all our Lego in Ukraine. Help me please! We need any Lego, any size and color in any quantity." He added that his son was a "very clever boy."
To Sidorov's delight, his request worked. Soon enough, dozens of packages filled with new and lightly used Lego sets started pouring into the Galmont Hotel & Spa, where Irish social welfare services placed the family. "There is Lego all around me," he shared. "In the reception, in the room, everywhere. Now, my kid has more Lego than before." About 45 packages have arrived so far from strangers all over the world, including from the United States, Britain, Australia and parts of Europe. This has left little Andrii immensely happy. His dad revealed, "Every day when he comes back from school, he chooses the next box and builds. I think they [his two sons] are happy to be here."
Sidorov is unsure if he will remain in Ireland or if they will go back to Kyiv someday, or perhaps relocate elsewhere. "The first thing for me is to save my kids and give them a happy life," he stated. "I must not think about me, but about my kids." Regardless, he is immensely thankful for all the support he has received so far. He writes in an Instagram post, "Glory to Ireland! Thanks to all these wonderful and very kind people with very big hearts!"