Some of the most frequently asked questions about Gift of Life have been answered.

Have a different question? Contact us by email at [email protected]

About charity Gift of Life

Q: What do Gift of Life do?

A: Gift of Life (GOL) raises funds internationally to help children and young adults of up to 25 years old beat cancer. We support patients with cancer and life-threatening blood diseases who receive their medical treatments in Russian hospitals/clinics.

Q: Can you please advise the reason as to why the decision was taken to register GOL as a charity in the UK when all the beneficiaries/aid recipients reside outside of the UK?

A: The decision on registration of the Gift of Life fund was made due to the increased need for medications that are either not registered in Russia, or with which there are disruptions in supply. The Fund imports many such drugs, for example, Foscavir, Defitelio, Iclusig, Busilvex. These are all medications that are essential for individual life indications for the treatment of children with oncohematological and immunological diseases.

There is almost a million Russian-speaking people permanently or temporarily residing in the UK, there are branches and subsidiaries of the companies where founders or employees are people who were born, grew up, or have connections with Russia or Soviet Union countries; these are people who would like to help solve existing problems related to Russia.

In addition, the UK has a favourable tax regime for benefactors and for those who receive donations. The system of tax benefits is called Gift Aid: if the donor (who must be a UK tax resident) fills in a special form, the state increases their donation by 25%.

Sign one form and boost your donation by 25p of Gift Aid for every £1 you donate

Q: There are many similar charities in the UK. What is it that makes you different?

A: We do save lives every day. By acting as a substantial source of support for patients with special needs, we provide effective, but very expensive cancer medications, otherwise unavailable in Russia.

For the time being, most unrelated bone marrow donors for the trust of the fund are foreigners. Their search is conducted through the international donor register with donors from many countries, including the UK. Gift of Life supports this search, making transplantations available for patients in Russia. 

Q: You work in partnership with Podari Zhizn in Russia. How do you support Podari Zhizn and why?

A:  GOL raises funds in the UK, the rest of Europe and around the world to support international programmes of Podari Zhizn, its sister charity in Russia. Gift of Life provides young cancer patients in Russian hospitals with a better access to the most effective foreign cancer medicines, state of the art surgeries and vital medical care, as well as sponsors educational trips of the Russian doctors to international conferences on paediatric oncology, and supports experience exchange between medical specialists from Russia, Europe, Asia and the USA. Since 2011 Gift of Life has supported hundreds of children and young adults and has become one of the most reputable British charities with Russian heritage.

Q: Why is the Fund called differently in the UK, why not Podari Zhizn?

A: When registering the fund in 2011, we tried not only to find the term that would be the closest to Podari Zhizn, but also to fit it into the cultural and conceptual context of British life, so that it was not just a derivation from the Russian language. This is how the name Gift of Life was born. The corporate style was developed pro bono by the English agency Exposure. In the US, our sister fund is called Podari.Life. All three funds have different names; this underlines their independence especially when working in partnership with each other.

Q: How big is your team?

A: One full-time salaried manager, three part-time freelance consultants, and five Trustees/Directors getting no compensation for their contribution. А small team helps us keep admin costs at bay. We do not have a physical office for that reason too.

Q: What is your long-term objective and goals?

A: GOL would like to cover the requirements of all the wards of the Russian fund in foreign medications that are currently unavailable in Russia. To make this happen, the annual income of the Fund would need to be approximately £3 million a year. As for the long-term goal, we will continue raising brand awareness and building trust, which we hope will result in GOL becoming the most recognizable and go-to Russian children cancer charity across the UK and EU.

Q: Why would westerners support your charity that is helping children suffering from cancer in Russia?

A: Cancer knows no borders. Children are in need of help in all parts of the world - international appeal. The system of rendering assistance with oncological diseases in Russia only began to form with the advent of charitable organisations in the early 2000s. The fund Podari Zhizn is at the source - if there were no charitable organizations in Russia that saved real lives daily, the situation with children's oncology would have been catastrophic.

Public donations are very important to Gift of Life because, in Russia, the treatment of cancer and other life-threatening diseases is only partially covered by the state. A large portion of the costs must be shouldered by families who are often living below the poverty line because their child’s illness has depleted their resources.

According to statistics, the survival rate for children's cancers in Great Britain is improving and has more than doubled in the last 40 years. Over this time, one of the most advanced systems in the world for helping children with cancer has been built here. This is an enormous advance on the 1960s when only about three out of every ten children (30%) with cancer were successfully treated.

The average five-year survival rate, across all childhood cancer types, is 82% in the UK (Survival Table EU). The childhood cancer rate in the UK is the lowest in Europe, and one of the lowest of all Western industrialised countries. This is why the Europeans have an opportunity to support Russia as a country, where a systematic and comprehensive approach is only starting to develop. The UK represents a gold standard of survival to which other countries can aspire.

Q: What does PZ do for the child's oncological care to be a concern of the state? For help to be sufficient and systemic? At what level is the situation with childhood oncological diseases in the UK and EU countries?

A:  Podari Zhizn consistently participates in the discussion and the development of federal legislation on access to treatment and care, as well as anaesthesia.

Statistics on childhood cancers in the UK can be found at Cancerresearchuk.org

For European countries check these Survival Table EU.

About the treatment and medications

Q: Who does the Fund support – are these only residents of Moscow? How to become a Fund’s ward? Can the Fund take care of the treatment of a child from the UK?

А: Fund Podari Zhizn supports patients from all over Russia and the CIS, if the child has been admitted to the Russian hospital or clinic for treatment. Detailed instruction and profiles can be found on the Podari Zhizn website: https://podari-zhizn.ru/main/node/7839.

Q: Why is patients’ age limited to 25 years?

А: The upper age limit is dictated by medical expediency. By law, we should have our patients, in fact still children, transferred to an adult hospital at 18 years of age, upon reaching adulthood. But medical practice shows that it is impossible to change such young children’s protocol to an adult one. Therefore, we help them until they are 25.

Q: Is it true that some kinds of treatment or diagnostics do not yet exist in Russia, therefore it is necessary to take the children for treatment abroad?

A: In Russia, most modern and advanced types of treatment and diagnostics already exist, but the need for treatment and diagnostics is growing across the country. Podari Zhizh is aiming to make the most effective cancer treatment available to the patients regardless of where they live, in a big city or a small village. The charity is on a mission to develop local cancer care within the country.  In extreme cases, with most patients receiving treatment in Russia, there is still a need for professional foreign treatment. More information about foreign treatment: https://podari-zhizn.ru/main/node/7164.

Q: Which medicines are not certified in Russia and can only be bought in the UK or the EU countries?

А: Main drugs that Gift of Life purchases regularly are presented in Medication section. 

Q: How to get help from GOL?

A: To get help from us, you need to apply to Podari Zhizh where the expert team of doctors considers all applications with care. An application must include official medical documents and can be submitted by patients, parents or legal guardians. For more details or to apply, please email [email protected]

Please, note that to qualify for application, a patient must be up to 25 years of age and receiving treatment for cancer or hematologic disease in one of the Russian hospitals.

Treatment abroad is paid for only when a team of doctors has established that necessary diagnostics or treatment cannot be provided in Russia. The foundation cannot help non-Russian citizens receiving treatment abroad. According to the foundation policy, we do not pay for alternative medicine treatments.

About donors and helping the fund

Q: Who are your supporters/donors?

A: People from different walks of life really. Anyone who has Russian connections (through homeland, family, friends, business in Russia, working for Russian companies in the UK or globally, learning Russian language, consuming Russian art and culture) or shares compassion towards severely ill children and teens coming through challenges and struggling to fight cancer on their own.

Q: What kind of tax benefits (according to English law) can I get as an individual or a legal entity, if I make charitable contributions on a regular basis?

A: In England, there is a clear system of tax deductions for philanthropists. Individual donations from individuals are not subject to taxation. The amount of tax on such donations is deducted from the tax burden of the donor or is automatically transferred to the charitable organization in excess of the main donation in case the donor signs the Gift Aid declaration. According to the rules, 25% of the individual donation, or 25 pence from each pound, is paid to the fund without any additional expenses for the donor, where the total annual return for Gift Aid does not exceed a quarter of all taxes paid by the donor for the reporting year. In case of excess, the donor undertakes to cover the difference on his own. In fact, Gift Aid is not a tax deduction and works outside the basic system of taxation of individuals.

Q: How to help Gift of Life?

A: Make a regular or one-off donation, fundraise for us, volunteer with us (donate your time, skills, expertise), bring in new donors and corporate partners, spread the word about the work we do, help us promote our charity at events and activities, act as GOL ambassador, help us grow GOL social media networks. To find out about all such opportunities in detail and/or to contribute, please check Donate and Get Involved sections of the website.

Q: How to make a donation?

A: You can donate online using your bank card - Donate now

To find out about alternative ways to donate check Other ways to donate.

Q: What if by the end of the fundraising campaign for a particular child the target amount is not raised? Does this mean that the treatment will discontinue and any planned operations will be cancelled?

A: No, the treatment will continue in any case – the deficient amount will be taken from the general money pot of the Fund. This is one of the main reasons, why GOL needs a constant replenishment of fund so that they are able to provide this level of security for all wards, in case the raised amount is not sufficient.

Reporting

Q: Where to view the reports of the Fund?

А: The reports can be requested if emailed to [email protected]

For annual report please check Reports section. 

Q: If I transfer the money to the fund (for example, by Direct Debit), where can I see what they went for? Is it possible to provide a targeted assistance to a particular child?

A: To find out how your donation was spent, you would need to write to [email protected]. You will then receive a detailed letter/report on where your donation went.

It is possible to provide help to a particular child whenever we have targeted campaigns.

Q: Do some of the funds get lost on the way to Russia (commissions, a difference in the exchange rate)?

A: As a rule, we do not send money to Russia. Funds collected by the GOL are spent in the UK or in the EU countries on the necessary medications, surgeries, performed by international specialists on children in Russia, doctors training programmes, conferences, and occasionally bone marrow transplant search and activation.