Audio/Video, Business

Can Twitter, Facebook do the impossible and save one life?

Almost every day, your inbox might receive an e-mail asking for support in a case of a terribly sick patient who only has months or weeks to live. In a lot of cases, the stories are actually brought forward to steal funds and we learn to discard them, regardless of the case being real of not.

In the case of young Silvana Novak from Croatia, she could only wish that a circular e-mail, large amount of tweets or Facebook messages were fake and that she was okay. Unfortunately, this is not to be. Silvana learned a terrible diagnosis- acute myelodysplastic leukemia in the final stage. The diagnose is that she has a few weeks to live but brace for impact – Silvana only learned of her sickness after feeling fatigued. Given that she is pregnant, this was missed by the doctors until she collapsed. Mis-diagnosis is something that might happen to each and every one of us – for instance, 11 years ago Ed-in-Chief of BSN* almost died after being miss-diagnosed with stress instead of early liver failure due to taking prescribed medication [the medication was withdrawn after reports of deaths].

Going back to Silvana, doctors advice was to perform an immediate abortion, but love for her child was bigger. Silvana took the risk and won, even making in remission during pregnancy. Beautiful, healthy boy Leo was born only few days ago. Unfortunately, the stress of the birth was such that the sickness was back. Unfortunately, the Croatian Health Department and the whole red taped European system that a lot of Americans like to think it works – left her to die. The only thing that can help her is treatment abroad by stem cell transplantation. The unfortunate result of living in a country with average salary barely passing the 1,000 USD mark means Silvana had no time to save for the 220,000 Euro [330,000 US dollars] needed for the procedure. The time is ticking and there are only four doctors in the world that can help her: in New York, Italy, Hanover and Singapore.

But the hope is here through the power of the Internet. A lot of mainstream media usually likes to say that Internet "pulls people apart" but this case is showing that’s nothing else but FUD. Thanks to Croatian Internet community, tweeting about this on Twitter [and easy retweeting – a brand new option recently implemented on Twitter], opened a Facebook group, numerous blogs and what happened is that mainstream media and various Internet portals caught up and starting to writing about this life-of-death situation.

In just half a day, this social networking push managed to do the impossible, something thatadministration couldn’t do in months; they donated 100,000 Euro. Thepeople are trying to help donating small amounts of money as much as they can, pushing the red tape around.

Can Internet give this women a chance to live, well we hope so, and we will keep our fingers crossed?

Transplantation of the stem cells and terapy cost 220.000 euros, and the donations can be made at the bank account number 2340009-1510407522 in Privredna banka Zagreb d. d.

People outside Croatia can donate on by using a foreign account:
HR42 2340 0091 5104 0752 2
10000 Zagreb, Franje Rackoga 6, Croatia

Croatian bloggers and Internet community spread the word and it took less than half of the day ti collect the 100,000 Euro. BSN* joined and donated a portion of our monthly earnings. We wish our best to Novak family and hope that everything will resolve. If there was any doubt what is the power of the Internet, this is pretty much the best test case you can find. Good luck and Godspeed.