90% of leukaemia patients stay in remission after treatment. Alviar is in the 10%.
Most of us can probably agree that being fifteen is a struggle in itself. From puberty to awkward phases to friendship fallouts to GCSEs, age fifteen is a whirlwind of emotional imbalance. But for Alviar Cohen, fifteen marked what would become the start of his journey fighting leukaemia.
From near St Albans, UK, Alviar is now 18 and has battled through 3 years of intense chemotherapy, two courses of radiotherapy and a bone marrow transplant (from his twin brother, Justin). At one point during his first relapse, he even began to lose his sight.
Through all this, he has fought tirelessly and courageously. Yet, last year, he received the devastating news that his disease was continuing to progress and that he had limited time left. Specialists all over the world could do nothing but bluntly confirm this crushing news. He and his family were heartbroken.
Suddenly, however, there was light at the end of the tunnel when they found out about a specialist team in Singapore that recently had created a brand-new treatment that could cure him. It has already cured Oscar, a 5-year-old boy. The only problem? The treatment costs £500,000. So, Alviar and his family created a Go Fund Me page in order to raise the money. It was urgent; they needed to raise the money within weeks. Then, shocked, they watched as donations piled on.
Sometimes, one stranger’s small act of kindness can have immeasurable significance. In Alviar’s case, the ripple effect of these acts meant grasping the chance to live. He and his family were, and continue to be, infinitely touched and grateful for all the support. It has given them their miracle chance. The pain that this family carries is unimaginable- and yet, as you read the perspectives of not only Alviar, but also his mother and his father on the Go Fund Me page, there is nothing but love and gratitude.
Sometimes in moments of darkness, it’s hard to do anything but succumb to it, but this family remains united in their strength and hope, leaving all those watching in awe. And for that, they are truly powerful.
Working towards a dream
Although cancer has robbed him of his last three years, Alviar is adamant that this is not the end of his journey. He has so much more to offer. Just this year, he was given a place at Oxford University to study biomedical sciences. A feat he accomplished by always working hard and studying, even in hospital.
His dream is to help fight diseases and to perhaps one day, give others a chance for a cure as well. Despite all the hurdles, Alviar has never given up. He has persevered through the roughest and hardest of times with a kind of positivity and grace that is truly incredible.
Recently, he persisted through complications with COVID-19 and travel visas. Now, safely in Singapore, the real fight begins. Alviar continues his combat against cancer. And it’s not over for us either: Alviar still needs donations. The £500k is just the first deposit on the treatment in Singapore and, although it should cover most of the costs, it’s still possible for sudden and new circumstances to arise, such as needing his father or brothers to fly to Singapore in order to have their cells harvested for further transplants. The family also remain clear that the unused funds will be used to help fund someone else’s treatment with the same team. So, now, it’s our turn to do our part in saving this beautiful life and family who truly deserve this chance.
You can read Alviar’s updates from Singapore here.