We have been recently asked by our partner charity in Russia, Advita Fund, to help them buy Foscavir, a medication used to treat viral infections. It is an important drug for immunosuppressed cancer patients undergoing bone marrow transplants or high-dose chemotherapy that inhibits patients' immune system. In this vulnerable state, they are more likely to pick up viral or bacterial infections, which can quickly become lethal.
Foscavir is not available in Russia. The cancer hospitals there rely on charities to bring the medication to the patients from abroad. The hospitals have to have this medication on hand, because it has to be administered within days, or sometimes hours, to get infection under control. In the past, we have helped Advita fund with paying for this medication and making it available for emergency use. We are hoping to raise sufficient funds to afford paying for this critically important drug and will greatly appreciate your support!
Since our last report, we were able to support two women who needed medications to treat cancer. One of them is a 61-year old Manana from a small town of Khobi, Georgia. Manana suffers from advanced melanoma and needs immunotherapy to have a chance to survive. Georgian healthcare does not cover the cost of the medication, which is unaffordable for Manana who lives on a fixed income.
Gulnara is 65. She lives in Tajikistan and was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago. After surgery and chemo, she was prescribed long-term therapy with hormonal drugs to prevent recurrence of cancer. This medication is unavailable in Tajikistan and has to be purchased abroad.
Thanks to your help, we were able to support these women even though they live in remote areas with limited healthcare options. If you would like to help more patients access lifesaving medications, 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.
During 2021 we spent almost $10,000 to purchase cancer drugs for patients in Russia and Tajikistan. Half of the medications went to a cancer hospital in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the rest to individual patients.
Since Russia's invastion of Ukraine, hundreds of foreign businesses paused or closed their operations in Russia to protest this senseless and brutal war, including pharmaceuticals, manufacturers, and shipping companies. However, we expect that medications needed by cancer patients will continue to be supplied by the pharmaceutical companies on the humanitarian grounds. In the past, we were able to help our partner in St. Petersburg, Advita fund, with bringing in the medications from outside Russia when the hospitals they support ran out of medications approved in their budgets. We don't know at this point if it will be possible for Advita fund to continue bringing medications from abroad. As we have more clarity, we will update our supporters.
Meanwhile, we are still providing help individual cancer patients who request aid with paying for medications - anywhere in the former Soviet Union. Thank you so much for your care and support for cancer patients - we really appreciate your help during these turbulent times.
The holiday season is here! This is a great time to pause and give thanks to those who have been supporting us for years - we know that without you we could never achieve what we have. Please know that we are truly grateful for having you on our side!
If you would like to support our project again this year, a great opportunity is coming soon - on Giving Tuesday, November 30th. This is an annual event to celebrate charity, community, and human kindness. GlobalGiving will mark the day by giving away $1 million in bonus funds, to be divided proportionally among all the donations (up to $2,500 per donor) made on that day. GlobalGiving will also add 100% bonuses to those donors who sign up for new monthly donations (up to $200 per donor).
Your donations will go to buy Foscavir, a medication used to treat viral infections. It is an important drug for immunosuppressed cancer patients undergoing bone marrow transplants or high-dose chemotherapy that brings down patients' immune system. Foscavir is not registered in Russia and for this reason cannot be purchased inside Russia. The hospitals rely on charities' help to bring the medication to the patients from abroad. The hospitals have to have the medication on hand, because it has to be administered within days, or sometimes hours, to get the infection under control.
Thanks to your support, we were able to spend $9,719 this year and support 7 patients. We hope that with your help we can do even more before the end of the year. Thanks again for staying with us and hope to hear from you on Giving Tuesday!
Our project has been helping Muazzam with lifesaving medications since 2017. We first learned about her story from her sister who has been her biggest supporter and advocate.
Muazzam was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2014, when she was just 27. Most of Hodgkin's lymphoma patients get cured with standard chemotherapy, but a minority struggle to overcome their cancer for years. Muazzam was one of the unlucky ones.
At first she was treated locally, in her native Tajikistan. Unfortunately, she was not able to complete her standard treatment protocol due to financial difficulties and severe side effects of chemotherapy. Then two years later she was diagnosed with disease relapse when she traveled for an examination to Russia. Muazzam started treatment right away, but then had to return home for radiation therapy since it was too expensive to pay for out of pocket.
Yet the treatment at home could not be finished once again because the local doctors decided against radiation. At that point Muazzam traveled to St. Petersburg to get a second opinion. There she was recommended a new drug, nivolumab, that was shown to be highly effective for patients like her. She finally achieved remission in 2018 and continued to stay on the medication to keep her disease under control. From time to time, she travels to St. Peterburg for follow up and to refill her prescriptions. Nivolumab is still unavailable in Tajikistan, like many other modern cancer drugs.
Our project is most valuable for patients like Muazzam, for whom lifesaving medications are available, but only if they are aware that they exist and are able to access them. Our mission is to bridge the gaps in access to medications for the patients in the former Soviet Union. With your support, we can continue to help patients like Muazzam. Thank you!
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