This year's annual "Jõulutunnel" Christmas charity drive, broadcast by ETV on Christmas Day, will be collecting donations to the Hille Tänavsuu cancer foundation (Hille Tänavsuu vähiravifondi Kingitud Elu SA).
Board member at the organization and son of Hille, Toivo Tänavsuu, said this year had been particularly difficult with canceled events, and subsequently donations, at a time when the need for cancer treatment has not gone away.
The coronavirus pandemic has been behind most fund-raiser cancellations, he added, and has led to a situation where the organization is in the red to the tune of €300,000, he said.
Tänavsuu told ETV morning show "Terevisioon" that: "My mother needed the help of the Estonian people six years ago, in order to get the necessary treatment."
Tänavsauu added that this demonstrated a gap in the market for others in similar situations, not least because some of the Health Insurance Fund's (Haigekassa) treatment policies effectively push some people out from under its protective umbrella.
The cancer fund also brings its benefits to the health populace, he said.
"It creates cohesion in Estonian society, where treat the sick a little, we treat the healthy a little, maybe we even treat the Health Insurance Fund, politicians and everyone else."
Over 1,200 have been helped by the fund so far, with families of cancer sufferers and their communities becoming the bedrock of the fund in many cases, Tänavsuu sent on.
"It starts when a doctor says in the office that we have now exhausted the possibilities of the Health Insurance Fund to treat you, but there are still opportunities outside the Health Insurance Fund," Tänavsuu explained, adding that the person then applies to the fund together with the doctor.
"It is a humbling fact that we have been able to support all those people who have approached us; no one has had to be left out of cancer treatment fund for want of money," he said, adding that over the years the fund has accumulated more than €10 million in private funding. .
The "Jõulutunnel" events started Christmas morning, and continue at 5.25 p.m. Estonian time, with a concert, and run through to 9 p.m., with a further musical event broadcast Saturday morning at 8.00 a.m. They are viewable (in Estonian) here.
If you are in Estonia and would like to donate to "Jõulutunel", call 900 4005 to donate €5, 900 4010 to donate €10, or 900 4050 to donate €25.
Editor: Andrew Whyte