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.
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