The new executive director of The Gift of Life cancer treatment foundation is Margit Saar, who will be taking over the responsibilities of Katrin Kuusemäe who has moved on to the Riigikogu.
Selected from 44 applicants, Margit Saar has a long career in the field of marketing and communications in addition to having led various teams. She has a degree in Business Administration from the University of Tartu and has completed the Master’s Programme in European Studies.
According to Toivo Tänavsuu, the director of the cancer treatment foundation The Gift of Life, Margit Saar stood out from the other applicants with her high motivation, smooth communication and convincing leadership skills. “She was one of our volunteers and now, she’ll be leading Estonia’s biggest charity that will soon have 10 years of history, great social responsibility and over 100 active volunteers,” said Tänavsuu. “By supporting hundreds of cancer patients a year and raising several million euros in donations, Margit will make sure that no one is left without the necessary treatment, hope or a last chance.”
Margit Saar first came into contact with the Gift of Life foundation many years ago when her husband was diagnosed with lung cancer. “He had a rare form of cancer and though the medication he needed was available, it wasn’t covered by the Health Insurance Fund, so we had to ask for help from the cancer treatment foundation to pay for the medication costing thousands of euros per month,” said Margit Saar. “I remember how difficult it seemed in the beginning that, in addition to the diagnosis of a serious illness, we also had to public about it so that good people would donate money to buy medication and that the foundation could help us through campaigns.”
“Thanks to Toivo Tänavsuu, we felt supported in every way and felt like we had won the lottery every time a positive decision was made to keep supporting his treatment,” she continued. “Our family gained almost four priceless years. It was truly the gift of life.”
“My gratitude and respect for the work of the cancer treatment foundation is immense,” Saar added. “I’ve kept an eye on the foundation’s activities, following the progress of the patients and sending them good thoughts and wishes. And of course, in addition to volunteering, I am a permanent donor of the foundation. We were helped once, now it is our turn to help others in need.”
“As its executive director, I want to keep the foundation on a steady course,” she said. “Our goal is to ensure that the foundation works. I hope every volunteer and donor of the foundation continues to be proud of what we do. I will do everything I can to make sure that no cancer patient in Estonia goes without the necessary treatment. I’m certain that my personal experience as a person in need asking for help and learning to cope with being the loved one of a cancer patient has taught me to value life and to appreciate every euro that is donated to the foundation.”
Katrin Kuusemäe started work at the Riigikogu in the beginning of April after six years of leading the daily work at The Gift of Life. Fontes, the foundation’s talent bank, assisted in the search for a new director.
The cancer treatment foundation The Gift of Life is one of Estonia’s largest and most known charities. In the past 9 years, approximately 2000 people from ages 7 to 83 have received help from the foundation, which has raised nearly €20 million in donations.