The boy in the picture is Slav (Slavko Vavro) and he is 13 years old. Up to December 2017 he was a happy healthy boy who enjoyed life, supported by a close and loving family. In late January after a period of illness Slav was diagnosed with the rare Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. He was immediately placed on a 27-week program of chemotherapy and transferred to Our Lady's Hospital in Crumlin (Dublin) for further tests to reveal that the primary location of the cancer was in the arch of his foot. However, the cancer had spread to his spine and bone marrow. The prognosis was poor but despite this he has faced the pain and suffering with a calm reserve that those around him find inspiring.
In the words of his mother Nadia.
"He is always smiling, spreading good energy around and is grateful for every day. He tells me every day I'm the best Mam in the world and always asks his dad how his day was when he gets home from work. He is very humble and caring. He never asks for designer pieces or brand names. He puts love first. He does not deserve this, there is no child on this earth who would deserve something like this. Never We, as Slav's parents, have to try everything possible on this earth and beyond - to save our lovely boy."
The sad fact is that with this form of cancer, Slav's chances of survival are less than 50/50 and even less in Ireland at this current time. Despite this his parents are not giving up on their boy and are looking to treatments abroad, particularly in the USA which if successful will increase Slav's chances of survival dramatically.
So what can we as an international community of poets do to help.
It is very simple but also very important.
Poetry may not be able to heal the world, but if it can help heal a single boy then isn't that something worthy of our craft.
We are asking you to join with the Blue Nib and to write a poem for Slav. All entries will be read by our editors and a selection will be chosen to appear in a pamphlet of Poetry for Slav which Blue Nib Publishing will sponser. Their is no entry fee for this contest but when you submit you will be asked to make a donation directly to the GoFundMe appeal set up to finance the cost of treatment. ALL MONEY RAISED goes directly to the fund.
Please submit using the entry form below, submit as often as you wish and donate what you can.