Savva is a 26-year old doctor from Russia. He grew up dreaming of saving people's lives and after graduating from high school he enrolled into a medical college in Siberia. Unfortunately, in the summer following his 3rd year in college, Savva was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. It was difficult to treat, and he ended up going through multiple chemotherapy cycles and radiation treatment only to achieve short-lasting remissions.
Savva does not have a matching bone marrow transplant donor, so the only chance for him to overcome lymphoma is to try recently developed CAR T-cell therapy. This therapy is a type of treatment in which a patient's T cells (a type of immune system cell) are changed in the laboratory so they will attack cancer cells. A majority of Hodgkin's lymphoma patients respond, with many experiencing complete disappearance of cancer cells. This therapy is well tolerated, as unlike bone marrow transplants from a donor, this treatment uses the patient's own cells, so there is no danger of the body rejecting the cells.
This year, we have supported only one patient from Russia who needed a bone marrow from a foreign donor. We have not had any recent requests from Russian patients, likely due to effect of border closures and sanctions imposed by EU governments. Deliveries of bone marrow material from abroad have to occur within a very short timeframe - generally, within 72 hours. Delays at the border and inability to extend visas would complicate decisions about using foreign donors.
For now, we will use the funds raised through this project to support cancer patients in other ways - whether they need to travel to Spain for CAR T-cell treatment, like Savva, or lack medications, or require help with lodging while they are treated in foreign countries. We will continue to support cancer patients from all countries in the former Soviet Union, as has been our mission for the last 10 years. Thank you so much for your support of our project!
Alexander is a 31-year-old father of three from the southern Russian city of Stavropol. After college he became a programmer specializing in 1C accounting software. In fall of 2019 Alexander started feeling unwell: his skin turned yellow and he could barely take the stairs. By April 2020 he was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a rare condition that occurs when your body stops producing enough new blood cells. Alexander began depending on twice montly blood transfusions to stay alive. In August 2020 he managed to receive treatment in St. Petersburg where he was given Atgam medication that allowed him to achieve partial remission for eight months. Unfortunately, once he relapsed he had to resume frequent blood transfusions - once every six weeks.
In April 2022 his doctors concluded that Alexander's sole chance to survive is to undergo urgent bone marrow transplantation from a donor. His potential matches are only available in the foreign bone marrow registries. The cost of donor search and activation is not covered by Russian healthcare, and Alexander is unable to afford it on his own. After several years of treatment, Alexander was forced to declare bankruptsy and can no longer borrow any money. Likewise, his wife had to borrow a lot of money while Alexander was on a medical leave. For Alexander to have a chance to live, they have to rely on their friends, family and the kindness of strangers.
Thanks to your support, we were able to transfer a deposit of 5,000 euros to initiate the donor search for Alexander. We hope that Alexander will soon be able to receive the lifesaving treatment. If you would like to support more patients like Alexander, please join us on July 20th during GlobalGiving Bonus day. On this day, the bonus funds of $400,000 will be allocated as follows:
30% match on donations from $100 - $499 (while funds remain)
40% match on donations from $500 - $749 (while funds remain)
50% match on donations from $750 - $1,000 (while funds remain)
If you are able to support us, please do so early, as soon as the contest starts at 9 am ET on Wednesday, July 20th. If you sign up for a recurring donation, you will also receive a 100% match on the recurring donation amount (after 4 monthly donations). Thanks again for your support for this project and for doing what you can to save lives.
Like most of the world, we were horrified by the news of Russian invasion of Ukraine. This war is a catastrophe for both countries, and countless ordinary citizens will bear the cost of the decision made by one deranged individual.
For cancer patients who need bone marrow translants from foreign donors, it will become much more difficult to get the transplant material delivered within a short time frame while the skies over Europe are closed for the Russian airlines. Our partner, Advita fund in St. Petersburg is looking at delivering transplant material via Turkey, which currently is still accepting flights from Russia.
Over the last few years, Advita fund was able to grow their database of the potential bone marrow donors within Russia, and for this reason the need for searches in foreign registries decreased. Last year, 15-20% of transplant material came from the foreign donors.
We will continue to watch how things develop and work with Advita fund in St. Petersburg in supporting blood cancer patients, when possible. Our best hope is to end the war as soon as possible and we urge you to do what you can. Together, we can affect change.
Larisa is an accountant and a mom of two boys. She has been living in Stavropol in southwestern Russia her whole life, and she enjoyed her happy marriage and the great outdoor nearby.
Unfortunately, in 2019 she had a severe bleeding and had to be hospitalized. Blood tests revealed serious issues with her blood, and Larisa was diagnosed with acquired idiopathic aplastic anemia, a rare blood disorder resulting from bone marrow failure to produce blood cells. Larisa began treatment immediately, but it did not help her, and she has been relying on monthly blood transfusions ever since. However, ongoing transfusions too can cause serious health issues. The only remaining treatment is bone marrow transplant from a donor.
No matching donors were found among Larisa's relatives or in the Russian donor registry. Her only hope is to find an unrelated donor in an international donor registry. The cost of the search is 23 thousand euros - an astronomical amount for Larisa's family. Her husband is a driver, and he is the only provider at this time. The family was able to come up with 6,000 euros, but needs help raising the rest of the money.
We would love to help Larisa and other patients like her! This year, we were able to support 5 cancer patients with the total payments to the donor regsitry of over $32,000. We hope that with your help we can increase this number and save even more lives!
Thank you so much for your kind support! Keep an eye on the Giving Tuesday - an annual event celebrating charitable community, its volunteers, donors and supporters. This year it will occur on November 30th and all your donations to our project will receive a proportional match from GlobalGiving's total bonus fund of $1 million. We would love for you to mark your calendars and show us your support on that day.
Each of the patients we support has a story to tell, and every experience is unique. It is our priviledge to be able to witness these moving stories and provide help whenever possible. We hope that by sharing these stories with you we let you see the world through the eyes of someone who faces a terminal illness - and finds strength to live a normal life.
One of the most inspring patients we have seen is 21-year-old Yegor from Moscow. In January, he had the third recurrence of acute leukemia. The first time he got sick he was 15, and his treatment lasted almost 2.5 years. Yegor was in remission for only eight months, but in that time he was able to accomplish a lot - he graduated from high school, passed a driving test and got his driving license, and enrolled into Sechenov Moscow First State University to study medicine.
When Yegor relapsed in August 2018, the doctors searched extensively for a compatible bone marrow donor in Russian and foreign registries, but none was found. In December of that year, Yegor received a transplant from his father who was a 50% match, but he relapsed just months after. The next transplant was from his mother who was a 70% match. Through these challenging times, Yegor continued his college studies - mostly remotely, but also in person when he was able to attend.
After the third relapse, Yegor was able to achieve remission thanks to recently approved innovative therapy with CAR T-cells. However, to strengthen the remission he still needs to undergo bone marrow transplant from a donor. Fortunately, there are now potentially matching unrelated donors available in the registry in Germany. While the family was able to raise money for the initial deposit, they are struggling to cover the whole bill after exhausting their financial resources over the years of Yegor's illness.
Yegor's calm determination to live his life on his own terms regards of what obstacles come his way is very impressive, especially for someone so young. Still, for Yegor and many other blood cancer patients, bone marrow transplants are often the only curative treatments for blood cancers. Finding a matching donor withourt delay will allow these patients to return to normal lives and achieve their dreams. But they can't do it on their own - and we are so grateful for your support!
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