"A healthy person has a thousand wishes, but an ill person only one.” I have never really understood that quote until back in 2016 when I found myself in a situation where the person I love most, my mother, faced a new tenant in her flat, called cancer. It’s very hard to express your thoughts, experiences and feelings in writing like this, and I have never thought I would be doing this, but when your desire to live, to create and to experience new, beautiful memories and moments, is huge and indescribable, you have no limits, you must not have them and you are not allowed to quit. We are not almighty and we are aware that a diagnosis like this is likely to have only one outcome, but the precious moments with our loved ones, whether they last two, five or twenty years, are invaluable. Both my mother and I are fighters so I have decided to call this campaign “Let’s Win!” (Pobijedimo!).
What is this exactly about?
In 2016 my mother Milka was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. Chemotherapy and 3 surgeries have had great results since then, however, the hideous disease comes back. It’s always there, it’s chronically present, it metastasizes, it comes back in different forms and it affects different organs. The medical staff dealing with this case in Croatia has done everything and they are not able to offer a better or a different treatment. They have examined a primary cancer sample, that is only 2 of a 300 possible genes, which is not enough for a more effective treatment.
Genetic testing procedure for individual medical cancer treatment
Luckily, we have heard of the Foundation Medicine Institute in Cambridge, USA, where almost 300 genes are examined in the same sample after a biopsy following a surgical procedure. Only such a multigene testing procedure allows us to determine a targeted cancer treatment. (more information can be found at https://www.foundationmedicine.com).
Every cancer is based on unique changes in the genome and these changes present the foundation for a targeted treatment. Cancer is a very complex disease and patient treatment has to be individualized! Unfortunately, the medical staff in Croatia doesn’t have the support system and laboratories needed for such testing and offer what they have available.
The Croatian Government and the company Roche d.o.o. signed a Cooperation Memorandum in July 2019 to start a new oncology project based on preparing and implementing more personalized treatments, with the goal of improving outcomes. The project doesn’t have a fixed start date (it might start in 2020), but we do not have the luxury to wait for it to start, nor do we have the financial means to cover all related costs.
The reason why we are organizing the “Let’s Win” charity campaign is to raise funds and provide opportunity for my mother to undergo the genetic testing procedure at the Foundation Medicine Inc., Cambridge in cooperation with the associated company Roche d.o.o., Zagreb.
We are raising funds to cover the examination, medication, testing, accommodation and transportation expenses once the treatment has started. After the sample has been sent for examination, we will receive the examination results within two or three weeks, and after that the treatment, its duration and the clinic doing the treatment will be determined. Unfortunately, I won’t know the exact medical expenses amount until I receive the results, so I can’t provide an accurate expenses list at the moment. After receiving the results and after the targeted treatment has been determined, any necessary additional documentation will be prepared and provided. Based on the estimates of other patients, the medical expenses can reach HRK 500.000,00 (≈ USD 75.000,00; ≈ EUR 67.000,00).
Our charity campaign has been approved by the Humanitarian Aid Department of the City Office for Social Welfare in Zagreb and it has been granted the required logo, which I have attached below. The campaign will last 90 days, from December 14, 2019 to March 13, 2020.
The charity campaign has been started by Ivan Zovko, because of the administrative prerequisite that you have to have your place of residency in Zagreb (which I do not have). For this reason, a special purpose account has been opened in his name, and the funds from this account will be transferred to me to use them in order to cover the costs of the medical treatment. Given the urgency of the situation, I wanted to spend as little time as possible in obtaining the necessary documentation so that my mother’s medical fundraising could begin.
Please help as much as you can and are willing to, please share whatever you think could help.
Being aware that in the times we are living right now, we often doubt the credibility of charity campaigns, I can provide more specific information to anyone who wishes to confirm and substantiate documentation.
Let's start! Let's win!
Thank you all,
+385 99 850 4375, +385 91 4321 100
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