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Jul 16, 2019

Calling in the big guns!

The Independence Day fireworks may be over, but the excitement continues to build!  A few days ago, GlobalGiving announced that they will offer one of the largest bonus prizes in their history for their bonus day on July 18th (starting 9 am ET or 16:00 Moscow time).  A total of $250,000 in matching funds plus $10,000 in additional prizes will be offered that day.  

Donations will be matched based on amount:

  • Donations $100 - $499 USD will be matched at 15%
  • Donations of $500 - $749 USD will be matched at 30%
  • Donations of $750 - $1,000 USD will be matched at 50%

If you are financially comfortable, we encourage you to donate at the top of your ability.  The more you give - the higher bonus you will earn for the cancer patients.  

Donations of less than $100 will not be matched this time.  However, another bonus day is coming up the week of August 12th that will celebrate our small but mighty donors and award bonuses on donations of up to $50.  Save the date!

Our partner, Advita fund in St. Petersburg does incredible work supporting patients in need of bone marrow transplants.  During summer they often run low on funds, as many of their supporters leave town on vacations and postpone their giving.  These bonus days in July and August will give us an opportunity to close this gap and ensure all patients in need are able to access bone marrow donors in foreign registries.  

Unfortunately, most of cancer patients in Russia require some level of financial support.  Particularly for leukemia patients,  imported new medications and searches for bone marrow donors abroad are very costly and not covered by government-sponsored healthcare.  Even patients in their prime earning age are often unable to afford lifesaving drugs and procedures.  

One of our recent beneficiaries, Alexei, is a young man from Crimea.  He got sick suddenly in fall of 2014: his backaches were getting progressively worse until he was hospitalized and diagnosed with acute leukemia.  He underwent lengthy treatment, but  relapsed in August 2018.  Bone marrow transplant is Alexei's chance for cure, but he did not match any of the potential donors in the Russian registry and needed to expand his search abroad.  Alexei was unable to afford the services of the German registry, but thanks to your support we were able to cover the cost of the search.  On June 28th Alexei received stem cell transplant and is now recovering.

Thank you for supporting Alexei and many other patients like him!  We are so grateful to have you as our donor.  We hope we can count on you to join us during one of the bonus days and help even more patients.

Have a great summer!

Jun 20, 2019

Rodion needs our help!


One of our latest support recipients is Rodion, a 14-year old from Odessa, Ukraine. In January 2018 he began feeling unwell – and his family was shocked when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. At first, he was treated at the local Children’s Clinical Hospital, but without success as he did not achieve complete remission. Rodion’s diagnosis was then graded as High-Risk disease. Due to poor level of oncology in Ukraine, Rodion’s family decided to continue treatment abroad in a Center for Pediatric Oncology, Hematology and Immunology in Belarus and pay for it out of their own means. The treatment in the Center had lasted for 8 months (from February to October 2018) and finally Rodion was discharged in complete remission to continue maintenance therapy at home.

On December 19, 2018, just two months later, the disease relapsed. Due to very early relapse Rodion has a chance to survive through transplantation of donor’s bone marrow only. However, to proceed with transplantation, he has to achieve complete remission again, and the family brought Rodion back to Belarus for chemotherapy.  Unfortunately, high-dose chemotherapy was not effective due to acquired resistance to treatment. In this situation, a very expensive new immunotherapy drug, blinatumomab (Blincyto) was recommended as only remaining way to reach remission. This type of immunotherapy was unavailable in Belarus.

The family urgently transferred Rodion to Medipol Mega Hospital in Istambul, Turkey, as it was the nearest place where the therapy was available and it had no entry visa requirements. The treatment cost was taken into consideration as well. The Medipol Mega Hospital billed Rodion’s family $130,000 for 2 courses of Blincito immunotherapy. The first course of immunotherapy was completed in February – March 2019. Rodion did not tolerate it well and had many negative side effects which resulted an additional rehabilitation period in the hospital that increased treatment cost. But more important was improvement observed after first course of immunotherapy and that filled Rodion’s family with faith and hope. Second course of immunotherapy started in April. However, by then Rodion’s family already spent all their savings as well as financial support from their relatives and friends. Currently, their financial resources are completely exhausted and they are seeking help to ensure Rodion can complete his treatment.  

We are very grateful to you for your support of kids like Rodion and their families struggling to do everything possible to save them.  Thank you for your kindness and care!  

Jun 10, 2019

One more chance for Ali


Ali is an 8-year old from Chechnya.  Already he spent half of his life fighting for his life.  He was diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma in 2015 and spent two years in treatment.  Just a month after his family thought he was cancer-free, Ali had a relapse.  In June 2018 he underwent stem cell transplant from his older brother, but his remission lasted only 3 months.  The doctors in Moscow then attempted a cutting-edge procedure:  therapy with CAR T-cells, which appeared successful at first, but in only three months Ali's cancer returned.   At that point, Ali's family was told that no further options were available for him in Russia.  

However, there are clinical trials and newer medications available in developed countries around the world.  In Israel, therapy with an experimental drug, inotuzumab, was available, and Ali's family flew there to take one last chance to bring Ali into remission.  And it worked!  Ali had one injection of the drug and already all of cancer in his blood went away.  After another injection and additional testing, Ali would have to proceed to a second stem cell transplant to strengthen his remission. 

Ali is a happy, active kid who misses his family, siblings and friends dearly and cannot wait to go home.  At the same time, he understands how important it is for him to finish treatment however difficult and painful it may be.  Your support for kids like Ali is invaluable and we greatly appreciate your help!   Our grant of $1,000 will go to help Ali's family with their travel and living expenses in Israel and will help alleviate the financial burden of cancer. 

Thanks again for your support and have a great summer! 

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