Hundreds of children from Russia, Ukraine and other countries of the former USSR receive medical treatment in Israel. What is the best way to help them find an appropriate hospital, establish a plan, and organize entertainment for the children? This is exactly what Inna Bakhareva and her friends, the “Chance for Life” Fund volunteers do.
The Fund’s mission is to provide overall assistance and long-term support to children and their families, who come to Israel from the countries of the former Soviet Union to undergo oncology treatment therapy.
“Chance for Life” is a non-profit grassroots organization (registry number 580617918), which helps seriously ill children and their families who come to Israel for treatment. We do not limit ourselves within the boundaries of one particular illness, but most often we deal with cancer patients. .
For over three years a group of volunteers unofficially helped the families who brought their children to Israel for treatment. Since November 2015 our regular, though unofficial, activities transformed into the “Chance for Life” Charity Fund, registered according to the Israel law as a charity organization under the registration number 580617918.
Inna Bakhareva, the founder of the Fund, together with our main enthusiast Yana Lemikin, is administering and developing the project.
The Fund team consists of the permanent volunteer contributors, and of over a 100 active volunteers.
The Fund collaborates with major Israeli, Russian and Ukrainian charity organizations, with the official missions of Russia and Ukraine in Israel, and with private and corporative contributors.
To date, we have supported over 150 families.
Sometimes we know much more than our supervisees’ relatives and we are joining them in the hard journey that they have to undergo here: The treatment that is too expensive, the child’s suffering and pain, loneliness; language barrier. We are trying to help them overcome all these hardships.
Our team is ready to do everything we can. When a family comes to Israel they will know that we care. We can fulfill a boy’s dream for a police car or decorate a girl’s room with butterflies. We can help parents find a flat and buy groceries, find expensive medicine or babysit a child.
“Each of us got involved in the project for very personal reasons. My close friend and coach had cancer. We went through everything together: the operation and chemotherapy, reanimation and, most importantly, victory. I know what it is like – to be faced with a diagnosis that is not treated in Russia, to look for money and search for Israeli clinics, and to deal with pain and fear. We survived it all together. When our first supervisee child passed away, I cried for three days and said: “I’m out of it, that’s the end.” But my relatives supported me, and my husband said: “It’s like war, there will be losses, but we have to go further, for the sake of victory.” It’s already hard to leave, I know that we are needed, that people trust us and entrust us with their most precious little ones.”
“There are many answers to that. Who knows, I might also need help sometime. Or, I hope, it may be taken into account in heaven. I have no exact answer; each person comes to it from a different path: illness of someone he or she loves, or fear of illness. This is a way one tries to protect themself from such things. I enjoy being useful and doing good things.”
“In the year 2002 the surgeon who would save my daughter’s life told me that Israel is the country where my child will feel good. Four months later I saw Israel through the illuminator of the plane; I gave my daughter a hug and promised that we will be happy here. We had to start from ground zero, but it was here that I met my love and new interesting people. I discovered that the family of my friends in Belorussia lost their daughter; those same parents decided to adopt a child with cancer. I turned to people with a begging bowl – to help collect money for the treatment. I sent the collection to my friends, but the girl’s life couldn’t be saved. At this point I realized that I could help save lives of other children, who I don’t know, children with various illnesses. I’m very happy to be one of the volunteers! The best reward is to see healthy children go home, to their various countries of the former Soviet Union”.