The cost of treating children with cancer is extremely high. During 2010, Gift of Life Russia raised over £15 million, with 2000 children receiving support. This included 27 patients who were sent abroad for treatments unavailable in Russia.

Donations made to Gift of Life UK will be used primarily to purchase vital medicine used in the treatment of leukaemia and to fund searches for potential bone marrow donors.

Leukaemia is the most common type of cancer in children. One of the more common formsof this disease is lymphoblastic leukaemia, which has a particular prevalence among children aged 2 to 6.

In many cases, treatment of this disease calls for a chemotherapy medication called Asparginase, which is available in Russia and is often effective. But some children develop an allergy to Asparaginase and are best treated with a medication called Erwinase, which is manufactured in the UK and not readily available in Russia.

Gift of Life assists with the purchase of Erwinase. Like most requirements for the treatment of cancer, Erwinase is expensive. A pack of five vials costs around £3000 and a child might require up to 15 packs. That’s as much as £45,000 per child.

Where chemotherapy has not been successful, the preferred next stage of treatment involves a bone marrow transplant. However, a suitable donor cannot always been found among the patient’s relatives. This makes it necessary to search registers to find a donor with matching bone marrow. There is no such register in Russia, so Gift of Life searches registers in the UK and Europe, costing nearly £13,000 per child. Searches carried out in Japan or the USA are even more expensive.

Your generous donations are enabling us to provide children in need with medical treatments that could save their lives.