- Dear Friends,
I am writing to you to tell you an incredible story of friendship.
Petr's fight to live is well known in ROCOR, but may not be in other Orthodox communities.
Petr Gudkov is a soloist of the well-known Russian Orthodox Sretensky Monastery Male Choir, a group that has visited the United States on several occasions (perhaps you have heard their recordings on Ancient Faith Radio, or have been fortunate enough to hear them live). He is 37, and is fighting Stage IV Hodgkin Lymphoma. This past summer, doctors in Russia told him that they are unable to treat him further. He was told that he could receive a bone marrow transplant under one condition - that he first undergo an aggressive new chemotherapy (Adcetris), which is available only in the United States. In short, they told Petr there is no hope and sent him home.
Being friends with my daughters Ksenia and Irina, Petr contacted Ksenia in July and told her his sad news. Desiring to save her friend's life, Ksenia very quickly found an Orthodox oncologist in Chicago, who arranged for treatment at a local hospital with lowered costs, and also worked out a package price with Loyola University Hospital for the bone marrow transplant. Their only stipulation was that payment be made up front. As Petr has no insurance in the United States, the prospect of raising several hundred thousand dollars necessary for his treatment in Chicago was daunting, but Ksenia and Irina began a campaign to raise the $85,000 necessary for the chemotherapy alone. Appealing to their contacts both abroad and in the United States, they were successful, and Petr received the treatment, to which he responded so favorably that his treating physicians declared him a candidate for a bone marrow transplant. They have identified three 100% matching donors, and God willing, Petr will undergo the procedure in the beginning of March.
Ksenia and Irina have continued campaigning for the funding necessary to pay for the transplant itself. Including post-operative care, the costs are $297,000. With the help of prayers of so many around the world, as of today the campaign has raised $153,000 towards this goal, leaving a goal of $144,000.
In the meantime, Petr has been living with us in Des Plaines, IL, and has become a member of our family. He is in good spirits, though missing his family in Moscow (his wife and two young daughters).
I write to you now to ask you to help my daughters save their friend's life. Please tell your friends and parishioners about this story. The campaign is coordinated with Russian American Community Services of San Franciscoa wonderful non-profit organization that is assisting with the fundraising. Donations are tax deductible, and can be made at: www.racssf.org.
And last, but not least, I ask for your prayers for the health and well-being of the servant of God Petr.
Archpriest Andre Papkov
Holy Virgin Protection Russian Orthodox Cathedral
1800 Lee Street
Des Plaines, IL 60018