Our work Real life stories I learned to cherish each passing moment Viliam Khailo is 15 years old, a talented musician and winner of numerous competitions. Viliam recently received treatment for Leukaemia, supported by the Gift of Life Foundation. He has recently visited London for the first time to attend the Gift of Life Old Russian New Year Gala, where he performed at the same stage with legendary violinist Vladimir Spivakov and world-famous operatic soprano Hibla Gerzmava. The first thing a young man asked the doctor in a sterile resuscitation box was to bring him a violin. When the young musician gained strength and was able to raise the violin, he could not play anything. But after a few days of persistent rehearsals, everything was restored. Viliam, how did you find out about your illness? It came as a complete surprise. I had been feeling unwell for two months, but, one day my nose started to bleed; it kept on bleeding for six hours. I lost consciousness and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. At first, the doctors treated me for a curved septum, but, having taken blood for analysis, the doctors realised there was an underlying problem. The blood was sent for additional analysis to a laboratory that deals with cancer, who were able to confirm the diagnosis, and I was immediately transferred to the intensive care unit of a local hospital. What changed in you after you learned about the disease? I began to appreciate life more. The realisation that I was close to death, gave me a new focus and perspective on life. My wish now, is that no-one neglects their health, because this is the only life we have. I learned to cherish each passing moment and share as much of my time as possible, with friends and loved ones. Where do you study now? I study at the Central Music School at the Moscow State Conservatory, named after Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Have you always wanted to be a musician? Of course, from a young age. My mother is a musician; she went to music school when she was pregnant with me and she graduated at around the time I was born. My mother often played the violin, and I also really wanted to play this instrument. What is your biggest dream in music? Like any classical musician, I celebrate the tradition and culture of the music I am playing. I have always loved classical music, although, this can be rare in a time when many musicians focus on a career in pop, My dream is to learn how to play all genres of music, including classical, jazz and contemporary. I plan to perform as a soloist or as a conductor and enjoy standing behind the conductor’s desk. I remember, as a small boy, studying in Sevastopol, during which time I was allowed to take up the conductor’s rehearsal for the orchestra. What do you like most about the conductor’s work? I love to listen to each instrument separately and then bring them together to create the orchestra’s sound. Your three most favourite works? “La Campanella” by Paganini, “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso” by Saint-Saёns and Wagner’s “Album Leaf”. This is for the violin. I also play the piano, for which I love “Elegie in E Flat Minor” Rachmaninov, Rachmaninov’s Second Concerto and Prokofiev’s Fourth Sonata, the final. Who is your favourite composer? Prokofiev. What would you wish for the children who are currently fighting the disease? Continue to learn and develop. Move forward. Grow. Both spiritually and physically. Gift of Life thanks all donors and supporters! Together we give children and young people like Viliam a better chance to beat cancer.