A £500,000 fundraising campaign to help save the life of a Redbourn student suffering from leukaemia has smashed its target in days. Alviar Cohen has what he describes as “the bad kind of leukaemia” as he is in the 10 per cent of patients who cannot be cured. Intense chemotherapy; a bone marrow transplant from his twin brother Justin, and other treatments have failed to kill the cancer, and time is running out. His one hope lies in receiving pioneering treatment in Singapore at a cost of half a million pounds. But a community fundraising GoFundMe campaign set up to try to raise the cost of the treatment managed to hit the target within a week, with almost 18,000 people donating. Alviar said: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the support I’ve received – THANK YOU SO MUCH!” Alviar, who is shortly due to take up a place at St John’s College, Oxford University; explained: “I’ve been told I’ve just a few months to live. I was also told a year ago my leukaemia was ‘incurable’. “One of the great new breakthroughs in cancer care in recent years has been CAR-T treatment where they modify the T-cells (one type of defence cell) to attack the disease. But I have T-cell leukaemia and they’ve not been able to safely get T cells to attack diseased T-cells. Until now. “That was until a few weeks ago. A specialist team in Singapore has a brand new treatment which claim to have cured a five-year-old boy in the UK in a similar condition. “I now have a chance to go and get the same treatment. A chance to have a normal life as a teenager, cancer-free: a chance to really start my journey. I feel like cancer has robbed me of the last three years. I won’t let it take any more.” Alviar has to finance the cost himself, but added: “I can’t tell you how amazing it is that ordinary people want to reach out and help someone in need.” See www.gofundme.com/f/alviars-chance-for-a-future Courtesy of the Herts Advertiser, September 17 – by Laura Bill.
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