Health  Russia Project #21423

Add Marrow Donors: Eliminate Leukemia Worldwide

by Karelian Registry of unrelated donors of hematopoietic stem cells Vetted since 2015
Add Marrow Donors: Eliminate Leukemia Worldwide
Add Marrow Donors: Eliminate Leukemia Worldwide
Add Marrow Donors: Eliminate Leukemia Worldwide
Add Marrow Donors: Eliminate Leukemia Worldwide
Add Marrow Donors: Eliminate Leukemia Worldwide
Add Marrow Donors: Eliminate Leukemia Worldwide
Add Marrow Donors: Eliminate Leukemia Worldwide
Add Marrow Donors: Eliminate Leukemia Worldwide
Add Marrow Donors: Eliminate Leukemia Worldwide

The Karelian Registry of Bone Marrow Donors is non- for- profit organization. It means we heavily rely on our volunteers. In other words, the fact that the Registry is effective is a great merit of volunteers. Last year we introduced you one of our wonderful volunteers, our “sunny” girl Elena Kolchenok. Today we would like to present you a special person – Natasha Kovalyova. This petite young woman has defeated leukemia thanks to bone marrow transplantation and now she is helping others.

The first time the disease crippled Natasha when she was 21. She caught a common cold that was persistent. After a few blood tests, Natasha learnt that she had myeloblastic leukemia. There was a long treatment, which at that time helped. And there were 4 happy years of remission. Natasha calls this time "four years of freedom". She could be with her daughter, see how she grows and enjoys life. And then  cold returned and again it didn't go away despite treatment.  "I lived with my parents then, far away from hospitals and doctors. Intuition made me call Tatyana Viktorovna, my doctor from the Republic hospital. She told me to come to the hospital right away. One short glance was enough for her to understand: relapse. It became clear: I needed a bone marrow transplantation because the third time will be the last one, " recalls Natasha.

"I have to survive for my daughter," she decided.  The daughter was six years old. Natasha's husband had died tragically a few months before she heard her diagnosis. If Natasha dies, her little girl will be an orphan.. Natasha asked parents not to tell Polina that her mommy is seriously sick.  The girl suffered from diabetes and any unwanted excitement or negative emotions were not good for her.  Natasha had to stay confident and positive for her daughter. This tiny woman, with all the misfortunes that had fallen on her, did not lose her high spirit and sense of humor.  "Serious illness? - So what? It's temporary, it is not for the whole life!"  "Hair fell out? –  I decided to change my image!"  "Okay, it's cool!"- were saying those who did not know about the disease.

There were long boring months in hospitals of Petrozavodsk and St. Petersburg. There was a hope that somewhere on the earth lives her genetic twin and one day she or he will decide to be a bone marrow donor…

The miracle happened: a donor was found,  in Italy. The  Karelian Registry helped to find the donor. The transplantation took place on September 29, 2011 at Raisa Gorbacheva clinic in St. Petersburg. Three months later, Natasha was able to hug her Polina and her parents again. The monotonous sick days were left behind.

"The first time God saved me, and the second time – the Italian. If he had not come to pass a blood test to be a donor, what would be now with me? My baby wouldn't have a mother. Make your own conclusions, people, whether to become a bone marrow donor. I can tell you one thing: my transplantation surgery gave me a chance to live. By the way, when I went to the hospital to do a puncture, the doctor said that he sent  my photo to the donor. He has never responded though. Maybe the photo did not reach him," Natasha says.

Now Natasha is 34 years old. She is an active and friendly, she raises hew daughter and helps the Registry. At the registry's recruiting campaign and meeting with students, she talks about her victory over the disease, inspiring people to become a donor. In an interview with the Karelian Internet newspaper "Republic ", she once said, " I can not thank the disease. When I was diagnosed, my daughter was just over one year old. I missed the precious moments of her growing up. I have photos and video, but I wasn’t there for her.  My illness has stolen a lot. Life is about the little things. It's minutes, hours, short days. I don't cling to life — I just started to appreciate the little things»

Natasha teaches this wisdom to everyone she meets. She keeps in her folder a gratitude letter to the Italian.  What if it happens that he will read it one day?  Thank you, donor!

                                         Dear Friends!

The goal of our work is to save lives. Without your help we won’t be able to operate and add new donors into the Registry.  Thank you for your support!  

This year’s #GivingTuesday will take place on November 27th and will kick off the giving season by inspiring people to collaborate and give back. GlobalGiving’s 2018 #GivingTuesday campaign will begin at 00:00:01 EST and end at 23:59:59 EST on November 27th, 2017.

This year projects will be competing for a portion of $150,000 Incentive Fund.  It meansif the Karelian Registry, for example, raises 1% of the total dollars raised on Giving Tuesday, it will be awarded 1% - or $1,500 - of the Incentive Fund1,500 means 20 new bone marrow donors included in the Registry and in the world data base. And each donor gives people with leukemia and other blood disorders the second chance for life. 

There will be a 100% match on all recurring donations started on #GivingTuesday up to $200. The initial donation will count towards your total funds raised on the 27th

Please make your donation via the link


Despite the summer, a hot, relaxing time, we continued to recruit new donors and re-type those donors who are already in the Registry. In total,  in July 23 donor samples were received in the laboratory. Most of the donors sent us their samples by mail. This recruiting method is becoming increasingly popular - you can fill out documents and collect smears at home, and then send us in a registered letter.

During the 2nd half of August 26 potential bone marrow donors  were recruited in Kostomuksha through the local city hospital. The recruiting campaign  was organized by doctor Vera Kudryavtseva, one of our the precious volunteers.

In August 25th we participated in the youth forum #Kareliya_100. There we informed the participants about bone marrow cell donation and how they can help as donors and volunteers.  Everyone could take smears tests and fill out forms for entry in the Karelian registry. Twenty one the Forum participant decided to join the Karelian Registry and become a potential bone marrow donor.

September begins as a very busy month. First,  a photo exhibition dedicated to our Registry was opened in Kostomuksha on September 1st.   The idea of creating a photo exhibition that would tell about the Registry and explain how to become a potential bone marrow donor belongs to our passionate and long- time friends  Elena Kochetova and Andrew Barsukov.  For the first time photos were displayed in the Petrozavodsk State University in April 2018. Then there was a thought "to travel with it on the cities and villages", and Kostomuksha became the first city where local residents got introduced with it. We not only visited the opening of the exhibition, but also held a small campaign to recruit donors in the Center for Cultural Development "Environment" where the exhibition was displayed. In result 34 residents of Kostomuksha joined the Karelian Registry.

On September 7th we made a short landing on the farm in 50 km from Kostomuksha where the Forum “Creative Working Initiative Youth “ was held. It was the 8th forum of young community leaders of Karelia since 2010 .  Yaroslava Burmistrova, our new assistant from Kostomuksha, talked about bone marrow donation and Yuri Ioffe answered the questions of the forum participants. Eleven people were added to the Registry bone marrow donor data base that day.

September 14 – 16 we hold another recruiting campaign in Petrozavodsk. We continue our routine job: to grow the bone marrow donor data base. We have a difficult task that requires commitment, perseverance and patience: we need thousands of potential donors! And only a few of them will be in demand as real donors. But this is normal practice. Despite the difficulties, we are able to achieve the main goal – to give bone marrow to people with deadly blood diseases who need it to save their lives.

Since the beginning of the year, the Karelian Registry has received 34 requests for donors’ search. In a few cases, we were asked to do additional work. As a result, 5 donors were activated and tested for compatibility with patients, but, unfortunately, did not fit. But another 7 donors were fully compatible with patients from Russia, Turkey, Germany and Estonia. And finally, two female donors from our Registry shared their blood cells with patients – a 7-year-old boy from Argentina and a 20-year-old girl from Estonia.  And it became possible only with your support, our dear friends. Together we can do anything!


The Spring is finally here: a wonderful time of the year, full of new energy, new hopes and good expectations. The Spring is the celebrating time for the Karelian Registry of Bone Marrow Donors. In April we celebrated our birthday and the National Blood Donor Day with a big Spring recruiting campaign and series of informational meetings with students. All activities took place in Petrozavodsk and Kostomuksha – the biggest Karelian cities. In result, one hundred new potential donors were included in the Registry.

For seventeen years, on the amazing Karelian land, a man-made miracle – the Karelian Registry Bone Marrow Donors, one of the first in Russia, has deliberately worked creating the national bone morrow donors database.

It all started on 28 April 2001. On the Bank of the Onego lake, with the support of one of the world's first registries – the Stefan Morsch Foundation,  the first campaign to recruit bone marrow donors took place. In the very beginning we had only  202 donors. For 17 years, the Karelian Registry  implemented  27 recruiting campaigns in 136 cities and small towns around the Russia. Now  4324 potential bone marrow donors are listed in the Karelian Registry database. Our most active cities are Petrozavodsk, Moscow and Kostomuksha.

Our the greatest Thank You to all who have been helping us for all these years to grow bone morrow donors database and save lives!   

In May we celebrated another miracle – the 100%matching of  the Karelian donor to a 20-year old woman  from Finland. The blood sampling took place in the clinic in Germany on May 30th. Unfortunately, the transplantation surgery was postponed because of the patient health complications, and it is planned to be done in June. We believe that the transplantation goes well,  and soon the young lady will be healthy again!

At the end of May another request for bone marrow donor turned out to be lucky: the patient  was fully compatible to one of our donors who now lives in Germany. The request came also from Germany. Now we have to examine the donor directly there, without bringing him to Russia. It the first experience of this kind. And if everything  goes smoothly and transplantation is successful, it is another reason for celebrating – celebrating  life.

                                                   Dear Friends,

       Thank you for your support, for your big hearts and compassion! 

                                  Together we can do anything!  


                                                   Dear Friends,

New year is gaining momentum, and with it - our work! We continue recruiting campaigns and begin thematic classes about bone marrow donation movement for 11th-grade students Petrozavodsk. Our volunteers successfully made their debut at the University Lyceum and Gymnasium 30 and are waiting for invitations to other schools of the city. We hope that now the theme of bone marrow cell donation will become closer to high school students and won’t scare them away of doing this good deed in the future.

Since the beginning of 2018, the Register has been replenished by 54 donors. Now Karelian Registry counts 4318 donors and receives more and more requests for bone marrow donors from all around the world. In 2017 we received 32 requests, majority of them came from abroad. Four donors from our database turned to be fully compatible with patients. One donation was undertaken on March 2018, and two cases are still in work.  

Statistics is indifferent, heartless, it tells you practically nothing, right? We want to share with you one story, we call it “The Argentine story”, to show you what those numbers are about.  

Registers are strong by their sizes. The more donors – the more chances to find a matching donor. We are consistently growing but we are still a tiny registry in comparison with giants from Germany or USA. When we receive a request from abroad, usually it means there is no a 100% matching donor in the world biggest registers, and small registries are involved into the search in hope for miracle. And sometimes miracles happen.

In September 2016, during one of our recruiting campaigns, a new donor, a resident of Petrozavodsk, was included in the Registry. And in the end of November 2016 we received a request for the donor from Argentinian search center for 3-year-old boy. This new donor was fully compatible with the boy. Prior to The new 2017, Argentines sent a request for confirmation of the donor's type, which was to take place in New York, USA. After 1.5 months, we got the result, confirming that our donor is fully compatible with the boy. Then the long silence came.

A year later, in the end of November 2017, the Registry received a letter from Argentina with request to provide survey data of the donor for infectious diseases. The donor agreed to a further examination, and, after receiving clarifications from Buenos Aires, we proceeded with examination. To the end of December the donor’s results have been received and in January 2018 the donor passed the full examination by doctors, specialists in different areas.  Meanwhile the Registry had been resolving issues with the clinic in Germany that would collect donor cells, and other numerous organizational issues.

In the morning of February 25th 2018 donor got a plane to Berlin, and visited a private clinic on the 26th morning, where the doctors did check up again.  On the 28th morning the donor got the final verdict on the validity of her as the donor. The checkup showed that everything was fine, i.e. the donor was healthy. After 5 days of the donor’s stimulation, on March 5th, the cell sampling was done. Immediately, the courier with the container, where the donor’s cells were kept at minus 4 degrees on Celsius, went to the airport, took the plain from Berlin to Frankfurt, and then the direct flight to Buenos Aires. Just 16 hours on the road, and March 6th at 8 am the courier passed this container to the clinic, where the same day TKM was performed.

 While there were those events in Berlin, in Buenos Aires, from February 28 the boy had been undertaking deadly chemotherapy (called conditioning) to suppress his bone marrow and thus be prepared to accept a donor cells. And God forbid, if something happened during these days (from the 28th to the 5th) in Berlin - a disease or injury of the donor, or something else that would prevent the donation - the boy would die...

The transplantation of bone marrow was successful. Though having a lot ahead to overcome, the boy was given the second chance for life.  So many people worked so hard to make it happen.  

There is nothing miracle in making miracles, there are just good will and actions of indifferent people there. We decided to tell you this story to let you know that all of you are participants of it. Even if you donated only once, even if it was tiny sum, it still helped us going forward and growing the bone morrow donors database. You all are miracle makers, do you know that?

               Thank You for Being with Us and God Bless You!


                Our Dear Friends! Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

      We wish you a wonderful holiday season filled with joy and happiness!

                 Thank you for your support and loyalty to our cause!

The year 2017 is almost over. It was busy, hectic, and successful . Here is our latest news of the year.

In November we held a big recruiting compaign, which was attended by 123 people. One hundred eleven new potential donors were recruited during the campaign. Traditionally it were mostly women – 93 of 111 people. We wonder if this tendency will be reversed one day and we have more men-potential donors? Five cities of Karelia, and also Moscow, Ivanovo, Saint-Petersburg, Kotlas, Severodvinsk, Voronezh were participated in the campaign. Thank you all, caring people!

On Saturday, December 16th, in the Youth Cultural Center of city of Kondopoga, the last campaign to recruit potential bone marrow donors took place. The organizers of the action were members of the Youth Association "Oatmeal" under the guidance of a teacher Alina Yarovoy. This was our first experience,  when school students voluntered as recruiters, and we must say that it was a good experience! Students learnt in the practice how  to communicate with prospective donors,  to check the completion of documents, to explain how to take swabs and to finally say "Thank you!" As a result, another 14 people became potential bone marrow donors,  and it was a nice way to end the year!

The year 2017 turned to be good for us  in terms of recognition of our work. November 30th  the Karelian Registry was rewared with a Thank You Letter and a Diploma of The First Degree for the victory in the Contest of Public Annual Reports of socially oriented noncommercial organizations of the Republic of Karelia and for implementing projects in the sphere of interethnic and interfaith relations. It is important for us: we have won it here, in Karelia, where we work.  This is recognition of the importance of all that the Registry has done for all the years of its activity.

We hope you continue to support us in the next  year. Together we can do anything!



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Organization Information

Karelian Registry of unrelated donors of hematopoietic stem cells

Location: Petrozavodsk - Russia
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Yuri Ioffe
Petrozavodsk, Russia

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