Sergei Gerasimov, 16, Samara, acute myeloblastic leukaemia

Sergei has always been a strong, athletic, healthy young man. He’s passionate about football and has played in regional championships and even larger events. And Samara, the city where he grew up, is one of the World Cup cities. The atmosphere in Samara over the last few years, the new stadium, the upcoming arrival of thousands of foreign fans… all this only made Sergei more excited about his football games with his friends. But a couple of years ago, he decided to dedicate all his spare time to a different sport: freestyle wrestling.

From 7 to 12, I’d spend the whole day playing football. I’d be playing non-stop in the evenings after school, and from morning to night during summer holidays!

Sergei: "I also represented my school and my region at tournaments. At 12, I dreamed of becoming a football star. My team even travelled to major competitions to prove that we were the best. But soon wrestling became my number one sport—we always used to use football under wrestling rules as a warmup. During summer, when there was no wrestling training going on, I would go to the football field and recall what I learned at the Krylia Sovetov football club. That’s where one of my favourite players, Sergei Kornilenko, plays forward. I also love Hulk, the forward from the Chinese Shanghai SIPG club, and, of course, Ronaldinho.”

The only way to survive cancer  

But now Sergei can’t play football. He can’t run or wrestle. For half a year now, he has been hospitalised at the Dmitry Rogachev Centre for Paediatric Haematology in Moscow. Sergei has one of the most malignant kinds of leukaemia. Chemotherapy alone won’t be enough to cure him—the risk of a relapse is too high. That’s why his doctors immediately decided to put him down for a bone marrow transplant. A genetically compatible donor was found in Germany, and preparations are underway for this serious and challenging operation.

Helping to save Sergei

In hospital, Sergei is being looked after by his older sister. After leaving her child with their grandmother, she’s focused all her efforts on supporting her brother and his treatment. Sergei’s father can’t be with him in hospital—he’s busy taking care of his other son—and Sergei’s mother has passed away. Everyone in the family is working hard to support each other, and Sergei himself does his best to be brave and without fear. But his courage and fearlessness aren’t enough for him to beat his illness. His family needs the support of caring people, as finding and engaging an unrelated donor is a very expensive process which will cost £20,000. This isn’t a trial Sergei’s family can overcome on their own.

Let’s help this young footballer and wrestler win the greatest victory of his life and defeat the disease. Sergei still has so much ahead of him, and it is within our power to give him the gift of hope for a happy future. Please, donate now.