Preston Brent, who has lived in Beacon Falls on and off since 1985, has traveled to the Ukraine over the years to look for real estate.
Brent’s dealings in the Ukraine led him to the website AnastasiaDate.com, which helps bachelors meet local women from the Ukraine.
“As soon as I joined I was diagnosed with cancer,” Brent said. “I never had history of smoking and was in good shape.”
Brent, a former fighter pilot and a captain in the Marine Corps, said that he spent about a year battling cancer and going through his therapy.
One night, while he was going through his treatment, he had a dream that he was visited by an angel with a broken wing, Brent said. At the time, he didn’t really think much of it.
A few months after he left the hospital, Brent remembered he had created a profile on the website and thought that it might be good therapy to see if anyone had emailed him.
To his surprise he found he had hundreds of emails, of which one stood out. He found himself drawn to a woman named Kristina Ivanchenko from Odessa, Ukraine.
In February 2012 they began exchanging emails and phone calls. It wasn’t until later that he realized the reason he was drawn to her is that her face was the same as the angel’s face from his dreams.
He flew to Odessa a few times to meet her in person once they had been talking a while.
Ivanchenko told Brent about a love letter contest held by the website and asked him to write her a love letter so she could enter into the contest.
In the letter, Brent said, he wrote about the seeing the angel with Ivanchenko’s face and how much she has meant to him since getting out of the hospital.
Brent said there were hundreds of letters entered and his letter made it into the top five. Being part of the top five meant that anyone could vote for which letter they liked the best. Once the voting had ended, Brent found out that his letter had won by over 100,000 votes.
The company flew him out to Odessa the weekend after Valentine’s Day to be with Ivanchenko and present her with her prize — a 2013 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Brent said.
Brent has since returned to America, but has not seen the last of Ivanchenko. Brent said they still talk to each other often and he has plans to visit her again in April.
“We write to each other, we’ll send texts, and sometimes were on Skype as well. We’re generally trying to stay in communication as much as we can,” Brent said. “She’s got a nice car to pick me up in at the airport.”