30 NOVEMBER 2012

Cost of life-saving medicine rises by 50%

Ilnur Karimov, fourteen, lives in a beautiful little village surrounded by forests and rivers. He is an excellent student with a passion for maths and physics, and he even wins prizes at Olympiads.

Alisa Udachina, four, loves to go for walks with her parents in their local park, and to play with her cat and two dogs. She also plays with cars, and wants to become a driver one day.

Margarita Khairullina, eighteen, is a member of Russia’s national triathlon team, and dreams of becoming an Olympic champion and then studying to become a photographer or a hairdresser, and eventually a wife and mother as well.

What do these Russian children have in common? The huge odds stacked against them. Not only have they fallen ill with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, but their bodies have rejected Asparginase, the primary chemotherapy medicine involved in their treatment.

Every year, about 60 children in Russia develop severe allergies to Asparginase during chemotherapy. Their only hope is Erwinase – an expensive drug produced in the UK and unavailable in Russia (as well as unaffordable to many of the children’s families).

And every year, the Gift of Life foundation, with the generous aid of its supporters, helps meet that need. This year, Gift of Life has provided a third of the Erwinase needed by Russia’s young cancer patients. You can see some of their reports at

Between your aid, the skill of the doctors, and the courage and determination of the children themselves, many lives are being saved against the odds.

Unfortunately, those odds are growing higher still. In July of this year, Erwinase’s producer raised the cost significantly, to £3000 per pack – and a child might require eighteen packs. With the funds we are receiving now, Gift of Life will not be able to meet the continuing demand for Erwinase and ensure these children receive the treatment they need.

And so we need your help more than ever. Please give generously, and make sure as many people as possible know about our work. Together, we can protect these children’s futures no matter what obstacles are thrown our way.