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Hello, my name is Ivana Sivakova and I'm from a small village called Hubova in Liptov region, Slovakia. I grew up with my little brother, Janko, who is nine years younger than me. We had a normal childhood- we had a lot of fun together but we also bickered like siblings usually do. It was a typical relationship between a younger brother and an older sister. However, our beautiful family life got torn apart in 2015. I will never forget this year.

Our Janko has suddenly started to have severe headaches. Janko and our mom spent more time in the hospital than at home, and after long days and weeks of medical examinations, we got devastating news: „Your son and brother has a brain tumour“. These were the words of the doctors in the Pediatric Clinic in Ružomberok. Suddenly, all the happy and nice things that we have planned together and which made our lives worth living for, ended. Millions of questions were swirling in our heads: „Why him?“, „Why our child?“, „Why? But our love and fighting spirit of the young boy have made us face this disease. Janko was taken to the Pediatric Oncology in Banska Bystrica, where he underwent his first surgery and started chemotherapy and radiation therapy. This is where a long and difficult journey of fear, tears and many nights at hospital has begun. We had to find strength in the hardest moments when we didn't know how to go on anymore. Then, in 2016, he was treated again in Malacky with stem cells. These treatments seemed to work and we began to feel hopeful that everything will be okay and that soon we'll be able to forget about this bad period in our lives. Janko started to go to school again and everything went back to normal. However, in 2018, we found out that Janko's tumour, which was removed only partially, had been growing. Our feelings were indescribable - our short happiness was gone.
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What followed was another surgery and another test of our faith and strength. Young boy, who was supposed to live his carefree life with friends on the football field, was attacked by his enemy again. His return to the hospital meant another surgery. Janko's tumour was removed and it was followed by chemotherapy again. As time went on, the day when doctors said: „Head is clear, the tumour is gone“ finally arrived. Tell me, what's better than that? There are no other words that a loving mother would want to hear more. The light has returned to our lives once again. Despite his serious disease, Janko is still a young boy full of dreams, ambitions and strength to face every obstacle in his life. Not even this disease could break him. If anything, it only made him stronger. He started to live his life to the fullest. He played his favourite sport, football, and became an amazing player for the local team TJ Polana in Hubova. Everyone saw his abillities and skills. He's a great pianist too, he played the piano not only at home, but also in the church, where he loved to attend the Holy Mass. He is also an amazing student, who sucessfully graduated from the high school despite everything that's happened to him, and got accepted to the university to study physiotherapy. He was so excited about life. He even signed up for driving lessons to fulfill his big dream- owning a car- like every young man. Time went on and one would think that the luck was on our side and our story ended with the happy-end. However, life is unpredictable. You'd even think that it likes to play games with us.

The cursed 2020 arrived as well as Janko's Sunday football match. Something seemed wrong with him even before the match began. Then during the match he started to lose concentration, his legs were heavy and he seemed to spend more time on the ground than running. The ball seemed more distant than it actually was and he wasn't able to kick into it even though it was right in front of him. I can't describe the anxiety and panic that we felt when we saw that. We took Janko to a neurologist right away, but after the check up, we've been told that everything is fine and they sent us home. Janko's medical condition worsened. We went back to a neurologist. Thankfully, this time, they made him stay in the hospital. But the time stopped around us when the doctors delivered the news: „Janko, you have a tumour.“ What followed was a long silence. You could literally hear a hairpin drop. We couldn't cry anymore, we couldn't scream. Even though Janko has had this disease for unbelievable six years, we still have faith. If there's even a little chance for him to get better or fully cured, we won't give up.

I am very grateful for everyone who's already helped us with their advice as well as for those who will help us in the future. Thank you very much. Mother Teresa once said: „We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.“ Please, help us with your little „drop“ to give Janko hope for a better future.
Thank you very much.
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