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2.7 million euros provided for treatment of 167 Estonians in 2020

According to the newly audited annual report submitted to the Commercial Register, ‘The Gift of Life’ cancer treatment foundation earned 3.28 million euros in 2020.

The foundation was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic during the year: donations declined temporarily because of the restrictions introduced in Estonia and the resulting recession. During a particularly difficult period, Utilitas provided the foundation with 75,000 euros and EY with 10,000 euros.

The year as a whole became a record one for the foundation, largely thanks to its collaboration with Estonian Public Broadcasting. The foundation raised 657,300 euros thanks to the charity show ‘Christmas Tunnel’, which aired at the end of December on ETV and ETV+.

The foundation earned 3.28 million euros in 2020, which was 18% more than in 2019 and 21% more than in 2018. The supervisory board approved 286 requests for help from 167 people. The youngest among them was a mother who is just 24 years old.

What makes the foundation so special is the abundance of donations it receives. In total, 111,630 donations were made to the foundation over the Internet alone. By the end of the year, the amount of permanent donators had risen to almost 8000.

“We’re extremely grateful,” said ‘Gift of Life’ director Toivo Tänavsuu. “Thanks solely to our munificent donators, we’ve been able to assist everybody who’s requested our help and who falls within the foundation’s target group of so-called non-cost effective cancer patients for whom treatment is available to save their lives but which isn’t funded by the Health Insurance Fund. The next person to need help from the foundation could be anyone: a family member, a close friend, a colleague. I’ve no doubt it would be reassuring for them to have help in paying for their treatment.”

In 2020, ‘The Gift of Life’ contributed 2.7 million euros towards cancer treatment, the same amount as the year before.

The foundation gives every person in need the chance to contribute to their own treatment with the maximum amount they can afford. In 2020, those in need funded their own treatment to the value of just over 320,000 euros.

The foundation helped the patients obtain close to 30 different cancer drugs that they were unable to get via the Health Insurance Fund: Keytruda, Lonsurf, Stivarga, Imbruvica, Avastin, Ibrance, Cyramza, Cometriq, Opdivo, Perjeta, Xalkori, Xtanda, Lynparza, Kisqali, Everolimus, Yervoy, Tagrisso, Votrient, Inlyta, Tecenriq, Tafinlar, Abraxane, Tyverb, Caelyx, Jevtana, Kyprolis, Xofigo, Erbitux and Venetoclax.

The foundation had two employees on its payroll in 2020: CEO Katrin Kuusemäe and director Toivo Tänavsuu.

The supervisory board decides whose applications should be approved. The board has nine members: oncologists Dr Peeter Padrik, Dr Hele Everaus, Dr Kadri Putnik, Dr Edward Laane, Dr Kristiina Ojamaa and Dr Hannes Jürgens, plus entrepreneurs Janek Mäggi, Erik Sakkov and Kristjan Rahu.

As the foundation relies solely on donations, its operating costs are kept to a minimum so as to ensure that it can fulfil its main purpose: helping people. In 2020, the foundation’s operating costs accounted for 5.3% of its revenue. This means that 94.7% of donations helped people in need pay for their treatment.

The foundation’s costs are kept to a minimum with the help of many Estonian companies who provide it with funding and services. In 2020, such help was provided by Utilitas, Ernst & Young, Circle K Estonia, DPD, Deloitte, Fifaa, Age McCann, Sviiter, Škoda Laagri, LEADELL Pilv, Powerhouse, EfTEN Capital, Luisa Translation Agency, Europark, Ühisteenused, Stockmann and others.

During its seven years of operations, ‘The Gift of Life’ has helped more than 1300 Estonian families from donations mostly made in Estonia (with some from other countries) amounting to more than 13 million euros.

The foundation’s annual report for 2020 can be found in full here.  

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