(CNN)Diana Savenok smiles when she recalls what life was like in Ukraine before Russia's invasion just over a year ago.
The mother of two girls -- Sofia and Lily -- Savenok lived peacefully in Irpin, a town on the outskirts of Kyiv, in an apartment block with 40 other families.
This was a tight-knit community and the children played together in a local forest. Savenok remembers feeling free and loved spending time visiting her favorite "beautiful" park.
After the invasion February 24, 2022, that park was never the same again.
"After the war [began], we saw dead people in this park," Savenok told CNN Sport.
With the fighting creeping toward the family's doorstep, Savenok's husband left to fight for the National Guard.
"Our life was in danger and we had to do everything to save our lives and the lives of our children," said Savenok.
"We stayed in Irpin for 10 days and every day we felt unsafe. It was very scary for the children," added Savenok, who fled with her two daughters to her parents' house further away from Kyiv.
That decision probably saved their lives.
The next day, Savenok says a shell struck the fourth floor of the apartment block and their f