Wölfersheim/Germany, March 15, 2022
The current situation in Ukraine is a humanitarian catastrophe and we strongly condemn this unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine by Russian’s president Wladimir Putin. As a global organization, Sarcoma Patients EuroNet Assoc. (SPAEN) stands in solidarity with all Ukrainians.
However, this situation of war is even worse for cancer patients, especially those with rare cancers such as sarcomas. According to estimates by the American Cancer Society, approx. 180,000 newly diagnosed Ukrainian cancer patients are fleeing the war. In addition, there are patients who have already been living with the diagnosis for some time and are currently receiving treatment. This includes children, who mostly suffer from leukemias, lymphomas, brain tumors or sarcomas. These are rare cancers which require care and treatment by specialized doctors in expert centers and this is particularly important in sarcoma. An interruption of a patient’s therapy due to the events of the war can not only have dramatic consequences for their prognosis, but also acutely endanger their very survival.
Professor Dr. Uta Dirksen, pediatric oncologist at the University Hospital in Essen, Germany, is involved in the coordination of European efforts to direct young cancer patients arriving from Ukraine into sarcoma centers of expertise in Europe, in order to re-start and/or re-evaluate their current cancer treatment – and thus helps save lives of the most vulnerable. “For many days now, we’ve been organizing the transport of Ukrainian children suffering from cancer including sarcomas. In coordination with our European colleagues, we try to bring them from their arrival points in Poland to other European countries, to specialized medical experts, as soon as possible”, explains Dirksen. “We are very worried about the state of those children, some of whom had to hide in hospital cellars and subway stations for days. Others had to interrupt their treatment because medication was unavailable.”
Markus Wartenberg, Co-Chair of SPAEN, comments on behalf of the Board of Directors: “Sarcoma Patients EuroNet has decided to quickly take action to show solidarity and support for sarcoma patients and their families. The SPAEN Board of Directors has agreed immediately to support Prof. Dirksen’s international engagement with an amount of 10.000,- Euro to bring value to cancer patients directly.”
As Prof. Dirksen explains “The biggest challenge is time. Any – especially financial – support we can get to organize transport and help these refugees with goods for daily needs is much appreciated”. She adds “We will make it, because this is about the lives of human beings, especially very sick children – we have to and we can do so even better in a combined effort.”
Photos: Private / WDR Aktuelle Stunde
We have received numerous requests from our SPAEN members to do the same – thank you so much for your support and commitment to patients outside of your country in desperate need for help.
Yes, you can help: Please support the ongoing donation campaign of the German Sarcoma Foundation (SPAEN member organisation): It is aimed at the same initiative by Professor Uta Dirksen, Essen, Germany that SPAEN has donated the money to.
Donations can be made here:
Online donation (via paypal or credit card) – see here.
Via bank wire transfer:
German Sarcoma Foundation
Account holder: Deutsche Sarkom-Stiftung
Bank: Volksbank Mittelhessen, Postfach 101061, 35340 Gießen
Account number: 73106311
Sort code: 513 90000
IBAN: DE51 5139 0000 0073 1063 11
Please mention “Ukraine” in the message field of the transfer form.
Thank you for your support!