Reaching out from across the globe

GoFundMe-2George Fox sophomore Vlada Wilson is working to raise funds for a family she has never met

By Vlada Wilson

On Dec. 13 I got a Skype call from my family in Ukraine, thinking that it would be the usual, ordinary phone call. But it turned out to be the opposite. I was told of the story of Arceny Bakun, who is a 22-month-old boy with severe lymphoblastic leukemia. Most children at his age are at home with their mom and dad, playing outside with the neighborhood kids or playing with their toys inside the house. Unfortunately, Arceny hasn’t been able to do either of those things because the Kyiv Regional Oncology Center has been his home for more than half of his life.

Arceny’s story has been on numerous new stations in Ukraine, and has gained great attention on Ukraine’s version of Facebook. Fortunately, a bone marrow donor has been found, but the real trouble for the family has been collecting 130,000 euros for the operation. Currently, Arceny is on his fifth dose of chemotherapy while his mom and dad are waiting for the funds to come in. So far they have collected almost 96,000 euros in donations, but they still have more than 34,000 euros left to collect.

The reason this story really captured my attention and a desire to help is because I have a baby nephew who is 18 months old who is also living in Ukraine. I can’t even fathom how difficult it is on the young parents to have to watch their one and only little boy suffer in pain and not be able to help because of a lack of money. Also, with the current currency deflation as a result of the war, and the very small salaries in Ukraine, it has taken the family a long time to collect the necessary funds.

I started to look online for ways to raise money through fundraisers, and the first site that grabbed my attention was GoFundMe. After creating an account, I decided to post the link on my Facebook page and ask my friends and family members to help. I also felt the call to go beyond my personal Facebook page so I reached out to the George Fox University marketing communications department.

During this fundraising campaign, one of the things that really blew me away was the reaction of Arceny’s family when my brother-in-law called and told them that I started a fundraising campaign. His parents couldn’t believe that people who had never met or seen Arceny were donating money to his fund. They said, “It’s a blessing from God.” A quote that has inspired me throughout this experience is one spoken by Mother Teresa. She said, “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.” Please help Arceny Bakun by donating to this GoFundMe campaign and give this boy the gift of life: http://www.gofundme.com/ity8k8

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Special note: While it’s nearly impossible to verify all the facts of a story like this from across the globe, after meeting with Vlada and hearing her story first-hand we feel good about sharing it on the Bruin Blog.