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For The Love Of Liza

Two-year-old Liza Gracheva needs a bone-marrow transplant.
Two-year-old Liza Gracheva needs a bone-marrow transplant.
The plight of 2-year-old Liza Gracheva is touching hearts not only in her native Kazakhstan but throughout the region.

Liza, who was diagnosed with leukemia when she was only 7 months old, needs a bone-marrow transplant but her parents don't have the 300,000 euros ($400,000) needed for the procedure, which is best performed in Germany.

Only 60,000 euros has been amassed by the family so far, a good chunk of which is funding the search for a suitable donor.

Oleg Grachev
Oleg Grachev
Liza's father, Oleg Grachev, says his daughter has undergone various rounds of chemotherapy but that a bone-marrow transplant is now her only hope.

Enter Kazakh and Russian musicians, who staged the first of three charity concerts called "Liza Day" in Astana on March 31 to raise money to help the family. Kazakh rock bands The Mirror, NovaKain, and The Fifth Corner were joined by the noted Russian band Masha and the Bears, known for their song "Lyuba."

"Love unites us in your hearts. Let it be passed to this little girl," said Mariya Makarov, the lead singer of Masha and the Bear.

In "Earth," one of the songs performed by Masha and the Bear, Makarova replaced the line "Such love will kill the world," with "Love will save the world."

The second charity concert will be held in Karaganda on April 6 and the third in Astana on April 7.

"We expect to collect about $10,000, but who knows? Maybe more. I am an optimist," concert organizer Nikolay Anufriev told RFE/RL's Kazakh Service. "Of course, we understand that this is just one-thirtieth of the necessary amount, but we look forward to wide public resonance."

He said one of the biggest challenges so far has been convincing people that little Liza really exists, that the charity and the accompanying website is not some sort of scam.

Oleg Grachev says it's no scam, that the family's monthly income is only around 375 euros, and that his daughter's life depends on the transplant.

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