Hermiona Education just finished its Educational Global Open House, 100% of whose proceeds went to Podari.Life, an organization which fundraises money for pediatric cancer treatment and research across post-Soviet space, where treatment is generally similar to what my friend Erik faced in Atyrau. Thanks to our donors, mentors, mentees, and team members, we helped Podari.Life raise $12,700 to sponsor the treatment and medicine of Yegor Malyar, a 12-year-old boy with leukemia.
But one life isn’t enough for a company whose mission it is to help children all around the world realize their dreams.
The cause of Podari.Life has recently become even more personal to me: my former roommate and good friend Erik lost his battle with cancer a few days ago, and I’ve been angry, confused, and heartbroken ever since. He was treated in a hospital in western Kazakhstan in a city called Atyrau, which, in spite of being near the Caspian Sea and a consequent beneficiary of Kazakhstan’s oil money, doesn’t have the necessary oncological healthcare to save lives like his. The news was absolutely devastating — but, in a way, it was even more devastating that thousands more will surely die because of their lack of access to the proper care.
When he and I lived in the same apartment, we used to sit around the kitchen table and play cards a lot. We’d tell stories, sing songs, laugh, and cry. It’s painful to know that a young man with a future as bright as his won’t have the opportunity to share those moments with other people. But as a member of the Hermiona team, I have the opportunity to make sure that others do.
Erik’s death reminded me of how much work we have left to do. With every consultation, TOEFL test prep session, and program application I go through with students, I am reminded of how much we can achieve when we channel our energy and resources into the right place — and with that, I am hopeful and determined to ensure that Hermiona’s next initiative will more lives of youth with cancer, like Egor and Erik. I invite you to participate so that together we can save the lives of children with cancer — and ensure that they have the chance to reach their dreams.
At moments like these, I’m extremely proud to be a part of a team whose goal is not only to help children pursue their education in the United States, but whose goal is also to save children’s lives, so that one day they can pursue the education most meaningful to them. Later this year, we’ll be continuing our efforts, and we can’t wait for you to join us.