On Friday, November 5, 2021, MEP Irena Joveva virtually attended the ceremony of the prestigious prize European Parliament’s European Citizen’s 2021. The prize was awarded to the President of the Slovenian Association of Lymphoma and Leukemia Patients Kristina Modic and the Head of the Clinical Department of Hematology at the University Medical Center Ljubljana Prof. dr. Samo Zver for the project For Solidarity and Pan-European Health Progress of Cancer Patients. The prize winners organized a successful fundraising campaign for the purchase of equipment for advanced cancer treatment, promoting solidarity and highlighting the importance of access to public health services. At the same time, the project contributes to the implementation of the EU’s cancer plan.

In her speech, MEP Irena Joveva pointed out that thanks to media coverage of the fundraising campaign, all of us had an understanding of CAR-T cell therapy, and people joined forces as they have many times before. “You organized a very successful fundraising campaign to buy equipment, in the end, advanced cancer treatment equipment. You actually exceeded your original goal as you ended up with two devices.” The MEP thanked them for their dedication to patients. “We lack such people in today’s world. Because of that: Thank you for being you. Thank you for having such a big heart. I bow to you.”

She also addressed the current situation as the pandemic has really exposed existing gaps in our health systems. “During this time, as many as 100 million fewer screenings were done than normal, which leads to delays in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.” She also stated that cancer is on the rise in our country, and unfortunately occurs at all ages. The MEP is convinced that early recognition of symptoms, and consequently timely diagnosis and treatment are crucial, as these moments often not only save a patient’s life, but also help maintain its quality: “Every minute matters when it comes to cancer.” 

In her closing remarks, Joveva emphasized the shortcomings of our health care system in this area and said that such fundraising campaigns are necessary. “I can only imagine you have helped or will help who have been waiting for these devices. This is why I believe prevention, research should be strengthened, not only at home in Slovenia but also at the European level. The focus must be put on individual medicine and cooperation among policy makers, experts and researchers must be enhanced. There is no question that determining access to treatment based on your birthplace or social status is unacceptable.”

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