Since 1996, we have worked with a charity called Paul O’Gorman Lifeline, contributing over £9 million to help fund their life-saving work.
The Paul O’Gorman Lifeline helps to provide treatment for children from eastern Europe and central Asia with life-threatening illnesses.
Three quarters of children diagnosed with cancer in the UK and other affluent countries now survive. Tragically, the outlook for children in less affluent countries is still very bleak.
Treatments for cancer are expensive and many poorer countries simply do not have the facilities or finances to provide them. This means that children are dying of a disease which is potentially curable.
Many of Lifeline’s patients have leukaemia and often need a bone marrow transplant. This a difficult and expensive procedure which is not available in their own countries.
Lifeline also works with a large number of bone cancer patients from Kyrgystan. In the West, we have made tremendous progress in treating children with bone cancer and limb-sparing surgery is routinely performed. In Kyrgystan all children undergo amputation yet they still die due to lack of adequate chemotherapy.
Over the years Lifeline has provided help and assistance to many desperately ill children. Most of the children referred for treatment now go to Italy, where treatment is available at a lower cost than in the UK. But even in Italy, the medical costs of treating a single child may be as much as £85,000. Travel and accommodation expenses push this up further.
The children helped by Lifeline really represent the tip of the iceberg. But Lifeline works on the principle that each life is worth saving and they take it one life at a time.