David Beckham hands over his Instagram account to a Ukrainian doctor

David Beckham
(Image credit: Lars Baron/Getty Images)

David Beckham forfeited control of his social media for a day to spotlight the "amazing" work health care workers are doing in Ukraine.

The soccer star, who has more than 71 million followers on Instagram, announced Sunday he'd be handing over control of his account to a woman named Iryna, head of the Regional Perinatal Centre in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

"There, she is working with pregnant mothers to help them give birth safely," Beckham said, and he encouraged followers to watch his Instagram Stories to "learn more about the amazing work that Iryna and health workers like her are doing to save lives."

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On Beckham's account, Iryna shared a look inside the Regional Perinatal Centre, explaining that she's currently working 24 hours a day.

"The first days were the most difficult," she said. "We had to learn how to work with bombings and strikes. My workday is 24/7 now, I'm here all day. Now, I'm not only the head of the center, but I continue to work as a pediatric anesthesiologist. I unload cargo, I work on logistics and offer emotional support."

Iryna recalled that as Russia's invasion began, "all pregnant women and mothers" had to be evacuated to the basement. "It was a terrible three hours that we spent together," she said. She also shared video of a woman named Yana and her baby son. "On the second day of war, he was born with breathing problems," Iryna said. "He is better now. But his family's house was destroyed and they can't go back."

Beckham is an ambassador for UNICEF, and the Instagram Stories included a link to donate to the organization. Iryna said support from UNICEF is "very important to us," as the group delivers supplies including oxygen generators.

"We are probably risking our lives, but we don't think about it at all," Iryna said. "We love our work. Doctors and nurses here, we worry, we cry, but none of us will give up."

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.