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May 28, 2020

The fight goes on


Covid-19 had changed our lives in a multitude of ways.  Most of us had to stay at home for longer stretches than ever in our lives.  Our activities dwindled to a few: grocery shopping, cautious walks near the house, watching more TV than we would like to admit.  It seems our lives were put on pause suddenly.  We are frozen in time and space as we await for the number of infections to come down.

For others, like medical workers in epidemic hot spots, things sped up instead.  Their lives revolve around hundreds and thousands of patients who stream into the hospitals and often need urgent care and lightning-speed decisions. 

For cancer patients, things have changed too.  Supply chains have been disrupted, and it is more difficult to obtain medications manufactured abroad.  Criminals have stepped in with fake medications sold on black market that cause harm to patients seeking to continue treatment.   It is now more difficult to obtain government and charitable support, as funds are being diverted to relief from coronavirus infection.

Since the start of epidemic, we have helped two women obtain medications for their cancer treatment.  Irina has been battling colon cancer for three years, and her cancer began growing again in early 2020.  In January she managed to travel to Israel and obtain a prescription for a third-line therapy, which helped to get cancer under control.  But in March, as the borders closed, she had to buy the medicine in her native Ukraine.  It turned out to be fake and caused Irina to swell and gasp for breath.  Irina spent a week in the hospital in recovery.  Afterwards, her doctor in Israel helped to locate two packages of medication available for shipping by DHL, and we paid the bill to make sure Irina could continue necessary care. 

Marina has been battling mesothelioma, rare abdominal cancer, since 2015 and needed immunotherapy medication.  Prior to pandemic she could buy cheaper medication abroad.  Now that shipments have ceased, she can only access medications previously brought to Ukraine, and their prices have jumped recently.  We have been supporting Marina so that she was able to afford the last two medication purchases. 

Our ability to offer help is dependent on our supporters, like you!  And we are so grateful to know that our supporters recognize the difficulty the pandemic adds to cancer patients.  We have been fortunate to maintain our donor base and we are humbled by your kindness.  Thank you so much! 

Mar 23, 2020

Small yet mighty!


These are challenging times for everyone.  With Covid-19 pandemic spreading through the world, all of us will feel its effects.  It is important to follow guidance from health officials to minimize the spread of coronavirus - for our own good, and to protect the most vulnerable populations: elderly and those with existing medical conditions.

Cancer patients are particularly exposed at this time.  While cancer wreaks havoc on the body, chemotherapy and radiation treatment also cause many side effects and depress immune system.  As pandemic advances, shortages of masks and basic sterlizing supplies, and overwhelmed hospitals may leave the patients unprotected and easliy susceptible to deadly disease.

We urge you to protect yourself and your loved ones first.  But if you feel that you are adequately prepared and able to help others, please consider joining GlobalGiving's bonus week starting on Monday, March 23rd and lasting until Friday, March 27th.  During that time, GlobalGiving will add 50% bonus on all small donations (up to $50).  Larger donations are also welcome, but a bonus will be capped at $25.   

Your help will support patients like Evgeny, 32-year old renovation manager from Krasnodar.  He is married, with two young children.  Ten months ago Evgeny was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), high-risk. Most of CML patients do well on long-term therapy with a targeted medication, but Evgeny quickly developed resistance to it.  He had no response to second-line therapy either.  His bone marrow did not function normally, and Evgeny had to go for regular blood transfusions to stay alive.  Bone marrow transplant from a donor was Evgeny's only chance to survive.  Since his sister did not match as a donor, he needed to find and activate a donor from a registry in Germany, where several potential matches were identified.  In February, a best match was found and Evgeny received bone marrow transplant.  He is now recovering.  However, he still owes almost 3,000 euros to the registry from the original bill of 18,000 euros. 

Your help will lessen the financial burden of cancer for Evgeny's family and others like him.  We believe in the power of our small donors to make a large impact and save lives of many patients.  Thanks again for your kind support! 

Stay well and be safe!

Mar 12, 2020

Travel in the time of pandemic


Our project was envisioned as a way to support families of children with cancer who could not access adequate treatment in their home countries and had to travel abroad.  With coronavirus pandemic affecting most of the world, families will have to face a difficult decision of risking travel and potential exposure to a deadly virus, or remaining at home where treatment options are limited or non-existent.  Moreover, this choice may disappear once more countries close borders and block foreign visitors from entry.

It is hard to predict at this point how long the pandemic will last or what effect it will have on the world.  However, it is important to remember the patients with cancer who will need our help even more acutely at these challenging times.  We will keep supporting the families requesting our help - whether by helping them afford medications, receiving second opinions, or continuing their treatment abroad.  We hope you will remain with us and offer helping hand to the patients.  It will be greatly appreciated!

Most recently, parents of 4-year old Viktoria were the recipients of your support.  In January 2020 she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Due to its large size it required complex surgery and specialized rehabilitation post-surgery.  In her native Ukraine, Viktoria's doctors were hesitant to operate.  Hoping to access experienced doctors, Viktoria's parents took her for treatment to the Children's Hospital in Barcelona. In February she underwent surgery and then began therapy.  Your support allowed Viktoria's parents to cover their travel and lodging expenses. 

Thanks again for your support of our project!  We will continue to assess the impact of the pandemic on cancer patients and will respond as necessary. 

Stay safe! 

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