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Sep 17, 2019

Anastasia needs our help!


Anastasia's story is very similar to those of other kids like her whose families applied for help this year. It happens like this: a new medication becomes available in the US and Europe and gives hope to the patients who previously would have been denied further treatment.  However, for various reasons it takes several years before the medication becomes approved and registered in the former Soviet Union countries.  Meanwhile, doctors and patient communities begin looking for ways to access better treatments.  Often families with sick kids travel to other countries where the medicine is already available and doctors have experience treating patients with it. 

Anastasia is one of those kids.  She is 10 years old and loves animals - horses, in particular.  She has been drawing them since she was little.  In January 2017 Anastasia was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Initial treatment took almost a year.  Anastasia was treated in a regional cancer hospital in Vladivostok, in Russia’s Far East.  Unfortunately, just two weeks after returning home she started having pains in her legs – it turned out to be a symptom of disease recurrence.  Anastasia’s family flew her across Russia to Moscow.  There, in May 2018, she underwent a risky, but often effective procedure: bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor.  Unfortunately, in just 90 days Anastasia had another relapse.   She then proceeded to have CAR-T cell therapy that worked for 160 days, but then yet again Anastasia relapsed.  At that point she exhausted all treatment options available in Russia. 

Anastasia’s parents heard about new drugs recently approved for leukemia.  They brought her to Seoul, South Korea for evaluation and a second opinion.  The doctors there recommended therapy with inotuzumab, a new medication that can work even in heavily pre-treated patients.  They are hoping to give Anastasia one last chance to beat leukemia.  The treatment with this new drug is very expensive, and Anastasia’s family is raising funds to afford therapy.

Thank you for your support for this project and patients like Anastasia!  Your help allows them to access new medications without delay and improve their chances to beat cancer.  We truly appreciate your kindness!

Sep 4, 2019

Stas's Story

For many of us, summer break is over and we are back from our vacations to attend school or go to work.  Some may already be planning their next holiday.  Travel is not only fun, but it's genuinely good for our health and wellbeing.  We hope that all of our supporters had a great time this summer!    

Cancer patients, however, travel for different reasons.  Most often it's to access medical expertise and level of care unavailable close to home.  Sometimes, it's the doctors themselves who tell the patients to try their luck elsewhere, where the resources and possibilities are not as limited.  Ability to accept patients at a short notice is another factor, or having no visa requirements that delay travel plans.  A lot of times, it's the word of mouth, a recommendation from a friend or another patient.  In the former Soviet Union, most patients tend to go to Israel, Germany or Turkey for treatment when no further treatment options exist at home.

Stas, a 14-year old from Ukraine, is one such patient.  In early 2017 he had surgery to remove a tumor.  Local doctors determined it to be benign and Stas had no further treatment.  In March 2019 Stas began having stomachaches and went to see doctors again.  He was referred for comprehensive evaluation, and the scans showed multiple lesions in his lymph nodes.  These were metastases from cancer that was previously misdiagnosed as benign tumor.  Two of the lesions were removed during biopsy, but another one was deemed unoperable.  The doctors had a hard time determining the type of cancer, and Stas’s family decided to take him abroad for further diagnostics and treatment. 

The family flew to Israel where Stas was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of rare solid tumor.  The doctors are giving Stas a good prognosis, but the treatment is costly.  Stas's ability to remain on treatment depends on the kindness of strangers.  He already had surgery that removed all visible metastases, but he still needs to stay in Israel and complete 5 cycles of chemotherapy and 30 radiation sessions, to be followed by maintenance chemotherapy for another year.  

Your donation will ensure that patients like Stas have access to quality cancer care abroad.  It is an unfortunate reality that there is a significant gap in patient outcomes in developed countries and the former Soviet Union.  Traveling abroad allows patients with rare cancers to bridge that gap and improve their chances to beat cancer. 

Thank you for your support!  

Aug 5, 2019

Little by Little

Cancer diagnosis carries with it the weght of worry and confusion, choices and decisions, disruption and delays. It is also very costly.  Almost 40% of patients deplete their life savings as a result of the diagnosis.  Your support is vital to the patients and in many cases it's the only way they can afford the necessary medications. 

Most recently, we used your donations to help Gulnara from Tajikistan.  Since 2012 she has been battling breast cancer.  Letrozole is a medicine often prescribed to keep women like her from recurrence, but it is not available in Tajikistan.  Her family has to purchase it abroad and pay for it out of their own pocket.  Without our help, they would not have been able to afford it. 

And it's small donations that enable us to help patients like Gulnara.  Donations of up to $25 make up 65% of total donations we receive, while those of $26-$50 comprise additional 20%.  Small donations are our foundation - without them we would crumble and fall.  We want you to know that we are grateful for donations of any size.  What matters to us is your support and dedication to helping cancer patients. 

If you would like to take advantage of a bonus to your donation, Little by Little Campaign week returns on Monday, August 12th!  This campaign celebrates the mighty power of small donations.  A 60% match on any donation of $50 or less will be given for as long as the bonus funds last.  In addition, bonus prizes for most money raised and most unique donors will be available.

That's not all - all new recurring donors will get an additional 100% match on their initial donation as long as it remains active for a minimum of four payments.

Thanks again and hope you join us the week of August 12th

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