This is how Vjesnik, Ana’s former employer, covered the big news:
It was hard to listen to the words spoken by Ana Rukavina’s mother as she made an incredibly emotional speech filled with tears and said that Ana’s dream had come true. That is, if the work of the Foundation could save just one life, it was a lot. That has happened. Stem cells from a donor listed in the Croatian Registry of voluntary bone marrow donors will save a life for the first time – in Austria. Of course, we are talking about a non-related donor, which means that if a patient in any part of the world cannot obtain bone marrow from a family member, they can search for a donor in Croatia. And not only that, but this success confirms that Croatia can implement all the methods used for treatments with transplantations, which will surely save many people. In order to save one life, it took two years for the Foundation to cover all of Croatia. They travelled from Istria to Slavonia to Dubrovnik, in the rain, snow and ice. There is no place or city from which blood samples have not been brought to Zagreb. Croatia united in this action and the effort has finally paid off. As the director of the Foundation, Marija Rukavina, explained, the donations from the citizens to tissue type the samples were generous, even if people just donated 20 kuna, which they gave with their hearts from their very small incomes. Before the Foundation had its own transportation, volunteers would travel with their own cars and not one of them ever considered asking for money for gas, expenses or tolls. What could be greater compensation than knowing that our donation, work and effort were used to save the life of someone’s sister, mother, father or brother? Throughout the past two years an avalanche that was started by Ana Rukavina woke up the desire in many people to show their charitable nature, and that increased the number of donators. At the beginning of 2007, the Croatian Registry of voluntary donors only had 156 donors listed, while today, that number has increased to an unbelievable 33,000, of which 12,000 blood samples have been tissue typed. The Ministry of Health jumped in to help the Foundation by allocating 4.5 million kuna to the Foundation last year, and the same amount will be given this year as well. The Minister of Health, Darko Milinović, has also made sacrifices to the benefit of the Foundation by donating his travel per diem allowances. With everyone’s contributions, little by little, we will tissue type the rest of the blood samples, which mean life and the fulfillment of a dream and mission.
Anita Končar – Vjesnik, evening edition, July 24, 2009