Svetlana Shraibman’s situation did not look hopeful. At age 32, soon after delivering her second daughter, she discovered a lump in her breast only to be told it was a result of breast-feeding. Two years later, doctors determined it was indeed breast cancer but by then it spread to four additional regions; Svetlana’s liver, spine, lymph nodes and lungs. Considered incurable by her doctors in Toronto, Svetlana’s prognosis was dim, and she was sent home to spend the remainder of her days with her family.
Refusing to give up hope, Svetlana, accompanied by her older brother Michael, went on a journey in search of a miracle. Their journey took them from Toronto to Switzerland and ultimately to Germany where Dr. Karl Aigner specializes in an alternative method of therapy called Induction Chemotherapy. While Induction Chemotherapy is offered by few doctors around the world, Aigner’s unique approach and methodology to delivering the treatment has proven to be highly successful, particularly with advanced stage 4 cancer patients, like Svetlana. Sadly, too few Canadian patients are lucky enough to stumble on it like Svetlana did.
Aigner’s unique form of treatment, albeit, highly effective, is neither cheap nor close to home. Each course of treatment costs about 19,000Euros per region and five of Svetlana’s regions have been impacted. Additional expenses like travel, food and stay of course add to that price tag.
The results, so far, look promising. Recently, Toronto doctors compared X-Rays taken before and after her second round of treatment with Dr. Aigner, in which they noticed significant reduction of the cancer cells in her breast and lungs. With her next treatment scheduled on March 29th, Svetlana is expected to undergo at least two to three additional rounds of treatment to kill all cancer cells in her body. While proven successful, Svetlana’s treatment is costly and not covered by the Canadian health care system.
The story immediately stirred a reaction from a close family friend who decided more needed to be done to help Svetlana and her family. A fundraising campaign was born at svetlanafoundation.com.
“What’s most frustrating is that Svetlana’s case is not unique. Since sharing our story with others, we’re hearing more and more people complain of having to become a “Dr. Google”, and go into an obscene amount of debt to fund a treatment that is simply not available in Canada, says Keren Elmalem, a close family friend of Svetlana’s. “And when you put yourself in that person’s shoes, be it a 19 year old university student like Courtney Render or Svetlana, a young mother of two beautiful daughters, can you put a price on buying more time with the people you love?” adds Keren.
The campaign to raise awareness and the$450,000 required to fund this therapy is the only hope Svetlana has to get her life back. This campaign aims to shed light on the limited medical options available to Canadians like Svetlana who are desperate to find alternative treatments that can heal them completely or at the very least improve their quality of life.
To learn more about Svetlana’s story and this campaign, visit svetlanafoundation.com.+