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 Health  Russia Project #9795

Help Children with Cancer Access Treatment!

by Advita Fund USA
Help Children with Cancer Access Treatment!
Happy holidays!
Happy holidays!

As 2019 is coming to an end in about two weeks, an argument is raging on whether the new decade will start on January 1, 2020, or January 1, 2021.  We are also divided on this issue.  But what is clear to us is that we will continue to need your support next year just as much as we do now.

Unfortunately, the pace of progress in pediatric oncology is still slow.  Most of the investment in new drug development goes into adult cancers, which are much more frequent.  Since relatively few children get cancer, it is difficult to enroll enough patients into clinical trials and discover new medications that are more effective and safe. 

The former Soviet Union countries also remain plagued by larger issues of inefficient governments, corruption, and outdated facilities.  Many families of children with cancer are unable to get good answers to their questions, or access treatment protocols that are standard in developed countries.  Some become frustrated and take their children abroad for treatment to ensure they get the best chance to beat the disease.  

Marian's family did just that.  He was only 20 months old when he was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma in August.  Neuroblastoma is a very aggressive type of cancer and almost always fatal if it recurs after treatment.  In Marian's native Ukraine, the best treatment regimen involving immunotherapy was not accessible.  His family had to bring him abroad to Spain where he is now receiving appropriate therapy.  Thanks to your donations, we were able to support his family when they reached out to us.

Until the end of the year GlobalGiving is running a contest, with prizes for the most funds raised and the most unique donors.  Donate before December 31 to allow us help even more patients!  In addition, GlobalGiving will match 100% of your first recurring donation, if you make at least 4 monthly payments. 

Thanks again for your kindness! 

We are wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year! 

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Anastasia's story is very similar to those of other kids like her whose families applied for help this year. It happens like this: a new medication becomes available in the US and Europe and gives hope to the patients who previously would have been denied further treatment.  However, for various reasons it takes several years before the medication becomes approved and registered in the former Soviet Union countries.  Meanwhile, doctors and patient communities begin looking for ways to access better treatments.  Often families with sick kids travel to other countries where the medicine is already available and doctors have experience treating patients with it. 

Anastasia is one of those kids.  She is 10 years old and loves animals - horses, in particular.  She has been drawing them since she was little.  In January 2017 Anastasia was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Initial treatment took almost a year.  Anastasia was treated in a regional cancer hospital in Vladivostok, in Russia’s Far East.  Unfortunately, just two weeks after returning home she started having pains in her legs – it turned out to be a symptom of disease recurrence.  Anastasia’s family flew her across Russia to Moscow.  There, in May 2018, she underwent a risky, but often effective procedure: bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor.  Unfortunately, in just 90 days Anastasia had another relapse.   She then proceeded to have CAR-T cell therapy that worked for 160 days, but then yet again Anastasia relapsed.  At that point she exhausted all treatment options available in Russia. 

Anastasia’s parents heard about new drugs recently approved for leukemia.  They brought her to Seoul, South Korea for evaluation and a second opinion.  The doctors there recommended therapy with inotuzumab, a new medication that can work even in heavily pre-treated patients.  They are hoping to give Anastasia one last chance to beat leukemia.  The treatment with this new drug is very expensive, and Anastasia’s family is raising funds to afford therapy.

Thank you for your support for this project and patients like Anastasia!  Your help allows them to access new medications without delay and improve their chances to beat cancer.  We truly appreciate your kindness!

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One of our latest support recipients is Rodion, a 14-year old from Odessa, Ukraine. In January 2018 he began feeling unwell – and his family was shocked when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. At first, he was treated at the local Children’s Clinical Hospital, but without success as he did not achieve complete remission. Rodion’s diagnosis was then graded as High-Risk disease. Due to poor level of oncology in Ukraine, Rodion’s family decided to continue treatment abroad in a Center for Pediatric Oncology, Hematology and Immunology in Belarus and pay for it out of their own means. The treatment in the Center had lasted for 8 months (from February to October 2018) and finally Rodion was discharged in complete remission to continue maintenance therapy at home.

On December 19, 2018, just two months later, the disease relapsed. Due to very early relapse Rodion has a chance to survive through transplantation of donor’s bone marrow only. However, to proceed with transplantation, he has to achieve complete remission again, and the family brought Rodion back to Belarus for chemotherapy.  Unfortunately, high-dose chemotherapy was not effective due to acquired resistance to treatment. In this situation, a very expensive new immunotherapy drug, blinatumomab (Blincyto) was recommended as only remaining way to reach remission. This type of immunotherapy was unavailable in Belarus.

The family urgently transferred Rodion to Medipol Mega Hospital in Istambul, Turkey, as it was the nearest place where the therapy was available and it had no entry visa requirements. The treatment cost was taken into consideration as well. The Medipol Mega Hospital billed Rodion’s family $130,000 for 2 courses of Blincito immunotherapy. The first course of immunotherapy was completed in February – March 2019. Rodion did not tolerate it well and had many negative side effects which resulted an additional rehabilitation period in the hospital that increased treatment cost. But more important was improvement observed after first course of immunotherapy and that filled Rodion’s family with faith and hope. Second course of immunotherapy started in April. However, by then Rodion’s family already spent all their savings as well as financial support from their relatives and friends. Currently, their financial resources are completely exhausted and they are seeking help to ensure Rodion can complete his treatment.  

We are very grateful to you for your support of kids like Rodion and their families struggling to do everything possible to save them.  Thank you for your kindness and care!  

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Two weeks from now we will again join Little by Little Matching Campaign which will run from April 8th - 12th. During this five-day campaign GlobalGiving will match donations up to $50 at 60% with $50,000 in matching funds and additional $5,000 in bonus prizes!  And if you sign up for a recurring donation of up to $200, it will receive 100% match – if you donate for 4 months or more. 

This is a great opportunity to increase your impact!  Every one-time donation of $50 will turn into $80 worth of patient support.  A monthly donation of $200 will grow to $1,000 after 4 months – enough to fund a grant for a family of child with cancer that needs to travel abroad for treatment.    

Most of the donations we receive are in the $10-$25 range.  Yet, they account for 65% of the total raised!  Without contributions from our friends, neighbors, and people from all over the world, we would be far less effective.  If we relied only on large donors, we would not be able to sustain our operations all year long. 

As we near summer, many of our supporters are planning vacations, family visits, and weekend getaways.  During this time, we generally get fewer donations as people’s attention turns inward.  A successful campaign will help us get through this “dry spell” and allow us to provide support to patients who need it. 

One of these patients is 8-year old Ali from Chechnya.  Ali suffers from recurring lymphoma, and he already went through almost all treatments that modern medicine can offer: chemotherapy, surgery, transplant of stem cells from a donor, and therapy with CAR-T cells.  Unfortunately, his disease persisted.  Ali only had one more option available: treatment with CAR-T cells targeting a different protein, either in the US or China.  As this therapy had wait-listed patients in the US, Ali’s family decided to travel to China.  Next week he is scheduled to receive the infusion of cells, and his family is anxiously awaiting response. 

Thank you for supporting our project and we hope you join our campaign on April 8th!

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Happy holidays!
Happy holidays!

This year we were able to support nine families of children with cancer and help them access appropriate treatment - in Israel, Germany, Korea, Italy and the United States. Often, the families ask for support once they have already made a decision and brought their child abroad.  And at times they need help before they travel - to understand their options and to make informed choices. 

Recently, we helped one such family.  Ilya is an 8-year-old from Moscow.  A year and a half ago he was diagnosed with a rare type of sarcoma that is very difficult to treat.  Despite good care he received in Moscow, the cancer was only temporarily held back and his doctors were running out of options.  At Ilya's family's request we contacted one of the best sarcoma doctors in the US and arranged a remote consultation.  Ilya now has a treatment plan, and may come to the US for one or two of the more critical stages of treatment, but undergo the rest of treatment in Moscow - helping him retain support of his family and friends in Russia.

Thanks again for your support for our project!  If you would like to continue giving throughout the year, an easy way to accomplish that would be to set up recurring monthly payments.  And until December 31st, GlobalGiving will add 100% match to your donation amount (up to $200) if you donate at least 4 times.  

Happy holidays to you and your loved ones!  Wishing you a prosperous and joyful new 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

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