All of the money raised in the auction will be used in support of cancer treatment to provide patients in Estonia whose treatment is not funded by the Estonian Health Insurance Fund with the chance to lead a normal life with their loved ones.
To support those in need, politician Kadri Simson (pictured below) will donate her turquoise blue Elsa the Snow Queen dress by designer Arne Niit which she wore at the President's reception in 2015.
"I asked Arne to create a dress that would light up the room and make me feel proud to wear it,” Simson said. “After the reception, quite a few mothers told me their little girls had liked my dress the most because it looked like it was from a fairytale. The reason I chose this dress to donate to the auction is that I’ve never received as many compliments for any other dress. I feel it conveys a message of hope that better times lie ahead."
Entrepreneur Anna-Greta Tsahkna will also be giving away a dress from her reception collection. Made by Hanna Korsar for the President’s reception in 2014, the dress is made from a glittery fabric but is very minimalistic.
"It would otherwise just sit in my closet, so I hope it makes its new owner happy, and makes some small contribution to help those in need," Tsahkna said.
Politician Heidy Purga will be donating a dress made by Karolin Kuusik for the President’s reception in 2009. She feels the dress would be perfect for a spring graduation, and because of its timeless design would suit any woman who is not afraid to stand out.
"Every donation counts,” she said. “But it’s not just about the money – it’s more about the reassurance it gives people that they’re not alone in their time of need. I think that could well be the biggest issue in Estonia today: people need to feel that their own people are there for them."
Singer Lenna Kuurmaa (pictured above) will be supporting cancer patients by donating her minimalist and very feminine reception dress made by Pille Küngas.
"I go to events as elegant as the President's reception maybe once a year, if that,” she said. “It would be sad to leave the dress just sitting there in the closet. I’m happy to donate it to charity."
Folk musician and festival organiser Astrid Nõlvak will donate her simple, classic reception dress from 2010 by Aldo Järvsoo featuring an additional piece in the colours of the Estonian flag.
"The dress has a lot of meaning for me and it’s brought me a lot of joy, which is why I’ll happily donate it so that it can help cancer patients and bring them some joy as well," said Nõlvak.
The foundation asks everyone who would like to donate something valuable and beautiful from their wardrobe to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org by 10 April.
The auction started on 13 April will last for approximately 10 days.
"Bring out your beautiful dresses and accessories and let's all trade them in exchange for life!" urged Toivo Tänavsuu, director of ‘The Gift of Life’ foundation. “I invite every lady to make a contribution, or to purchase something really exclusive, unique and memorable from the auction to complement their wardrobes or wear at a graduation ceremony.”
‘The Gift of Life’ has already supported more than 20 people in 2016 by contributing over 150,000 euros to vital cancer treatment.
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ABOUT THE FOUNDATION:
The cancer treatment foundation "The Gift of Life" is the first privately initiated cancer treatment support foundation in Estonia. Our mission is to support cancer patients (and their families) whose treatment is not considered sufficiently ‘cost-effective’ by the state at this point.
Cancer continues to be diagnosed a great deal in Estonia. Modern treatments are becoming more effective, but also more expensive. The national Health Insurance Fund has its own models and calculations to determine which kinds of treatment fit under the national insurance policy. However, very often drugs that are newer and not always as thoroughly tested do not fit in this category, even though they are vital to specific patients.
Cancer patients who are already unsure, afraid or even in pain shouldn't have to worry about where to get the money to pay for the drugs or treatment they need. The cancer treatment foundation is able to deal with each person and their treatment needs on a much more personal level than the state ever could.
We are a lifeline for cancer patients who do not fit into the lifeboat of national treatment policy. We want to help shape this policy so that it is more humane and more personal. Also, we want to ‘cure’ the mental ‘cancer’ of Estonian society – prejudice and fear concerning charities. By giving people the chance to help those who truly need it – to give the gift of life.
The idea behind the foundation came from the treatment story of renowned journalist Hille Tänavsuu. After fighting cancer for seven years, undergoing many rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatment and a number of operations, Hille was faced with a cruel choice in spring 2013: pay or die?
Her treatment options at major hospitals had been exhausted and the doctors were out of ideas. Her health was already deteriorating, and her son Toivo was afraid his mother might not make it.
However, there was a new lung cancer drug which nobody had used in Estonia and which wasn’t available at a discount. One box (60 pills) of Pfizer's Xalkor cost Hille 5400 euros - over five times Estonia's average monthly salary. Thanks to dozens of supporters, Hille managed to get her medication each month. It proved nothing short of a miracle for her health. In summer 2013, she witnessed the birth of her fifth grandchild.
Hille's fight with the terrible disease lasted until April 2014, when she finally surrendered. A few months before her death she and her son Toivo found that
there were hundreds of families in Estonia in a similar situation. This is how the idea of creating a foundation to support them came about.
Many people joined them on their mission. As we said before, in addition to helping patients we want to ‘cure’ Estonian society: create solidarity between people, shape the health care policy and offer an opportunity to give a priceless gift to those in need – the gift of life.
As of February 2016, the charity has collected close to 1 000 000 euros as donations and supported more than 75 patients aged between 20 and 83. With a help from around a hundred volunteers we are very actively collecting donations and promoting our mission in live events, such as summer festivals, concerts, sport events etc.