Help Cancer Patients Access Medications!

by Advita Fund USA
Help Cancer Patients Access Medications!
Help Cancer Patients Access Medications!
Help Cancer Patients Access Medications!
Help Cancer Patients Access Medications!
Help Cancer Patients Access Medications!
Help Cancer Patients Access Medications!
Help Cancer Patients Access Medications!
Help Cancer Patients Access Medications!
Help Cancer Patients Access Medications!
Help Cancer Patients Access Medications!

Hope you had a great start of the year!  Here at Advita USA we are working closely with our partner, Advita Fund in St. Petersburg to help them overcome challenges with supplying medications to cancer patients.  

During 2019, Russian patients faced a new hurdle.  For various reasons, many medications began disappearing from the pharmacies and hospitals.  They included chemotherapy drugs and supporting medications, many categorized as Essential Medicines by World Health Organization.  Sometimes, individual pharmacies would choose pricier drugs to replace cheaper analogs.  Or the government-approved prices were too low for the manufacturers who would decide to exit Russian market altogether. 

Natulan is one of the essential drugs that has been affected.  Also known as procarbazine, it's one of the mainstays of cancer treatment, particularly for Hodgkin's lymphoma and brain cancers.  Since it's been discovered decades ago, in the 1960s, it is one of the cheaper drugs available.  However, it suddenly became difficult to find around the country.  

Recently, we used your donations to purchase $1,800 worth of Natulan for patients in St. Petersburg.  We appreciate your support and hope you continue staying with us.  Unfortunately, supply of medications remains unpredictable and often the medicines are priced much higher than if purchased abroad.   We will continue to monitor the situation and support the patients as necessary.  

Thank you! 

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Medication needs of cancer patients are very broad.  Not only do they include chemotherapy medications, but also medicine to treat side effects, to prevent complications, to increase blood counts, and many others.  Among them, are antiviral drugs. 

Cancer patients recovering from toxicities associated with chemotherapy and other treatments are often vulnerable to infections, and suffer more severe illness as a result of infection.  Antiviral drugs, just like antibiotics and antifungals, are essential for protection of cancer patients during their lengthy treatment process.  Most recently, we have used your donations to purchase medications to support cancer patients needing intensive care. 

Foscavir is a medication that treats viral infections - usually herpes viruses, such as herpes simplex and drug-resistant CMV.  Often, it's the last resort drug used in intensive care units.  Although it has been available since 1990s, it is not registered in Russia. For that reason, the hospitals are unable to acquire it and have to ask charities for help with making it available for gravely sick patients.  The medication has to be on hand, because once the infection spirals out of control, it is a matter of days, and sometimes hours, before it becomes lethal. 

Thanks to your support, we were able to pay $2,700 towards the costs of acquiring Foscavir for hospitals in St. Petersburg in August, and we anticipate another bill soon.   Thank you so much for helping us support cancer patients with this vital medication and save lives! 

Happy upcoming holiday season to you!  Stay warm! 

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Cancer diagnosis carries with it the weght of worry and confusion, choices and decisions, disruption and delays. It is also very costly.  Almost 40% of patients deplete their life savings as a result of the diagnosis.  Your support is vital to the patients and in many cases it's the only way they can afford the necessary medications. 

Most recently, we used your donations to help Gulnara from Tajikistan.  Since 2012 she has been battling breast cancer.  Letrozole is a medicine often prescribed to keep women like her from recurrence, but it is not available in Tajikistan.  Her family has to purchase it abroad and pay for it out of their own pocket.  Without our help, they would not have been able to afford it. 

And it's small donations that enable us to help patients like Gulnara.  Donations of up to $25 make up 65% of total donations we receive, while those of $26-$50 comprise additional 20%.  Small donations are our foundation - without them we would crumble and fall.  We want you to know that we are grateful for donations of any size.  What matters to us is your support and dedication to helping cancer patients. 

If you would like to take advantage of a bonus to your donation, Little by Little Campaign week returns on Monday, August 12th!  This campaign celebrates the mighty power of small donations.  A 60% match on any donation of $50 or less will be given for as long as the bonus funds last.  In addition, bonus prizes for most money raised and most unique donors will be available.

That's not all - all new recurring donors will get an additional 100% match on their initial donation as long as it remains active for a minimum of four payments.

Thanks again and hope you join us the week of August 12th

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Sometimes the medications we purchase as part of this project get distributed to several patients at once, or the purchase is part of the future supply in case of an emergency.  Still, we wanted to bring you a few of the patient stories to illustrate why your support is so important and who the beneficiaries are.  

Some of the patients are young people just starting out their lives and already facing a mortal danger:  Alexander is only 19, but he is already a veteran of cancer battles.  First diagnosed with lymphoma 6 years ago, he had numerous cycles of chemotherapy and radiation, then further treatment in Korea after a relapse.  In 2016 Alexander returned home and began trying to restart his life - he started studying IT in college and got a telemarketing job.  Unfortunately, cancer recurred once again 20 months later.  This time, he traveled to St. Petersburg for therapy with a new immunotherapy drug.  The therapy worked!  By now, Alexander completed 24 cycles of treatment and continues to respond. 

Other patients are approaching middle age: caring for their own children, supporting their aging parents, and also dealing with mounting financial pressures due to cancer.  Olga is 47, elementary teacher by profession and a mother of two kids.  Like Alexander, she has been fighting lymphoma for a long time - almost 10 years.  During that time she underwent 26 cycles of chemotherapy and became resistant to traditional drugs.  Immunotherapy offered her a different approach to treatment that mobilized her immune system to fight cancer.  Olga is now doing well and needs to continue this therapy.

Your help provided an immeasurable relief to patients like Alexander and Olga - not only monetary, but also emotional, as a show of support and care.  Thank you so much for your kindness! 



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In January we transferred over $6,000 to buy Opdivo in Germany for blood cancer patients in St. Petersburg.  Opdivo is called a “miracle drug” sometimes:  it is currently indicated to treat eight kinds of cancer – as different as lung cancer, melanoma or Hodgkin lymphoma.  It works by harnessing the immune system to fight cancer.  Discovered by accident, when scientists were looking for a drug to tamp down the immune response in patients with autoimmune disease, not stimulate it, it took years to get to clinical trials.  The studies, however, showed striking results immediately.   Among advanced melanoma patients, never before seen responses astonished oncologists.  From there it took off - many more indications were added to Opdivo, and other similar drugs. 

Hodgkin lymphoma patients like those treated in St. Petersburg also benefitted from immunotherapy.  Patients who failed multiple chemotherapy lines, suddenly had a new option that could bring in remission that lasted.  However, high efficacy came with a high price tag attached.  In Russia, Opdivo is not covered by the federal healthcare system, which means patients have to pay for it out of their own pockets.  Retail pharmacies also add significant premium to a drug that is already very expensive.  For this reason, we buy medications from Germany at a much lower price. 

Thank you for helping us make modern medications accessible to cancer patients in Russia!  We appreciate your support and will make sure to share more stories of how you are making impact this year!  

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Organization Information

Advita Fund USA

Location: Houston, Texas - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @advitausa
Project Leader:
Marina Ouano
Houston, Texas United States
$36,801 raised of $50,000 goal
638 donations
$13,199 to go
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