Excelsior salon raising money for Ukrainian family

In a little over one month, Dasha Lawson’s life has changed completely.

"It was a nightmare that I really wanted to wake up from," Lawson told FOX 9. 

She was born in Crimea and grew up near Kiev, but 14 years ago came to Minnesota and made a life for herself here. Now she’s fighting to save the lives of her loved ones back home.

"The devastation that they left behind is just really heartbreaking and I can’t even believe that could be happening right now in the 21st century," Lawson said. 

Dasha Lawson

Her younger sister Liza, 10-year-old nephew and 5-year-old niece are currently in Poland, after escaping the war in Ukraine. 

As Russian invaders targeted the family’s hometown in late February, Liza and her children woke up to the sound of explosions, and made a run for the border.

"They were just fleeing and praying that God will let them escape safely," Lawson said. She works as a hair artist at M The Art of Hair studio in Excelsior. Throughout the month of April the salon is inviting clients to support Lawson’s family overseas on Gofundme.

"I am very grateful for everyone, for every dollar that was donated for my family," Lawson said.

Her sister’s family spent time in a crowded Polish refugee camp, and now they are at another property, feeling grateful to be alive but unsure of what is ahead.

"It’s like being homeless in a foreign country," Lawson said. "You’re with basically what you could bring in your hands, and kids that depend on you, it’s just heartbreaking."

Dasha has hired an immigration attorney to try to get them from Poland to Minnesota.