Student Visionaries of the Year Albany

Maria Barabash | Marks Circle

Maria's Student Visionaries of the Year Fundraiser

Feb 21, 2023

Hello friends, 

I just wanted to give a big thanks to all that have donated so far, and those who are continuing to help me in my journey. To the people that have donated, - Bogdana Berezovska, The Douglas Family/Alive Events, Lorisa Hewitt, Dawn Agro, Marjorie Colson, Carr Kathleen, Lilia and Ivan Baranash, Lydia Kulbida, Zina Smith, and Sophie Czerpak. Your generous donations are set to do great things. And help the fight against childhood cancer to end it once and for all. And to my team members, Lydia Kulbida, Lilia and Ivan Barabash, Kaitlyn Hansen, Andrew Gamello, Lizzie Andrus, Sophia Jarosz, Kelly Farron, Claire Campana, Natalka and Tanya Petroff, Emily Marincic, and Mia Lacona. Thank you for all your help, but most importantly thank you for your continuous encoragment positive energy that pushes me to keep going. I am so excited to keep going in this campaign and can't wait to see where the future brings us!!


With much Gratitude,

Maria Barabash 


Maria's Student Visionaries of the Year Fundraiser

Feb 04, 2023


Visionaries look to the future—and see infinite possibility.

They challenge the status quo—and make the impossible possible.

They boldly imagine a better world – and lead the charge to create it.


The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society was built on that same vision - of a better world - one without blood cancers.


Hello, my name is Maria Barabash and I want to share with you my dream for the past 11 years ~ my dream is to find a cure and put an end to childhood cancer. In memory of my brother Mark, I’m proud to be a part of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Student Visionaries of the Year Campaign, working to raise as much as possible for LLS’s mission.

Before I detail my mission to support LLS and how you can help find a cure, let me tell you about my hero and brother Mark, a beautiful and healthy baby boy born October 18, 2008. Mark and I had the best of memories, his first birthday and my third were some of the most memorable. However little did my family know that our smiles would soon fade and we would be met with some of the worst news of our lives. It was December of 2011 when Mark started to not feel well. His stomach swelled up and he had symptoms of what was thought to be a stomach bug. However it was much worse, after a blood test and time spent waiting my parents got the call. I vividly remember that day. My aunt came over and we were playing in the kitchen with Mark while my parents sat in the living room. All was well until I heard screams and cries coming from the living room. Of course as a little girl I didn’t fully understand what was going on but seeing the look on my parents' faces stuck with me for the rest of my life. 

Before I knew it my mom and Mark were in the back of an ambulance driving to the hospital for the next 6 weeks. Those 6 weeks were the longest of my life. I had to wake up with my mom not beside me and come home after school to an empty living room with no brother to play with. Over time we all sadly had to get used to this new lifestyle. For a while I lived with my aunt but later my grandma moved in with me and my dad to help out around the house. We would often visit and play with my brother in the hospital where I would hear the concerns from my parents and the doctors from across the room. I didn’t know much but I knew my brother was sick, he was losing weight, strength, and his beautiful, bright blonde hair because of the chemotherapy and radiation. But his smile never faded, and his will to fight kept growing everyday. Throughout his one year of fighting there we so many MRIs, CT-Scans, Blood withdrawls and transfusions, medications, and Chemotheramy and Radiation treatments. But even after all of this, Mark's condition did worsen and he was scheduled to have a bone marrow transplant. After his transplant, Mark lived for another 23 days before the angels took him home. I lost both my brother and my best friend to Leukemia. Ever since that day I knew I needed to do something to stop this horrible disease and to make sure no brother or sister would have to go through the pain of losing a sibling, and most importantly to make sure no child would ever have to go through such harsh treatment. 

Mark loved his family and friends. He loved Buzz and Woody from Toy story, and wanted to fight crime like Spiderman. He was the most intelligent and courageous person I knew and his smile was able to light up any room. Sometimes I wonder why such an innocent little boy was taken from this world so quickly. But perhaps his short 3 years on this earth were just the beginning of his lifetime legacy that lives on. He was a bright and beautiful soul who touched the lives of so many people around him. Most importantly he has touched mine. He taught me the importance of living life with a big smile on your face, even in the hard times. He also taught me to cherish each and every moment and second we have, because we never know when it’s going to be our last. I will forever be thankful for having the chance of being Mark's sister, and to all the beautiful and precious memories that I will hold in my heart forever. As Buzz Lightyear says, I will love Mark “To infinity and beyond”. 

The pain my parents had to go through was unbearable. For the last five months of his life, my mom and Mark lived in the hospital without coming home. Every night, me, my dad, and my grandma prayed to God for them to come home and be with us. And on January 22, 2012 my mom finally came home... but without Mark. I wish I wouldn't have remebered that day, as vividly as I do. No parent should have to see their child leave this world. Seeing the pain my brother went through during his treatment showed me the willpower that children have to fight these diseases. But they need our help, to find a better and more effective cure and to finally get rid of childhood cancer so that it can be just a horrible memory. I strongly believe LLS is doing all they can to do just that.

As a global leader in the fight against blood cancer, LLS:
Funds cutting-edge research leading to breakthroughs in immunotherapy, genomics and personalized medicine that are improving and saving the lives of patients
Provides free education and support for blood cancer patients and families, including personalized, one-on-one support, assistance with identifying and enrolling in clinical trials, and more.
Mobilizes thousands of advocates to drive policy changes that accelerate the development of new cancer treatments and break down barriers to care.
Please consider joining this fight by making a donation. All donations are greatly appreciated and tax-deductible. Please visit my website often and tell friends who would also like to donate

Thanks to your support, my efforts will help ensure this generation is the last to see cancer.

On behalf of blood cancer patients everywhere, thank you!

With much gratitude,
Maria Barabash


For more information about LLS, please visit





  • Margie Colson

    So proud of you, Maria! What a lovely tribute to your brother.

  • Lorisa Hewitt

    I donate in hopes of someday eradicating the horrible blood leukemia that we lost Mark Barabash to, along with all childhood cancers.

  • Alive Events

    Our dear friends' daughter Maria Barabash lost her little brother 11 years ago to one of pediatric blood cancers and today she's advocating for LLS in this campaign. We're humbled to join in efforts to raise funds towards LLS' mission. We're proud of you, Maria. With Love, Alive Events and the Douglas Family.

  • Assya Covacheva

    Thank you for doing this, Maria!

  • Elizabeth Sagnelli

    Thank you❤

  • The Ryan’s

    Congratulations on your job well done for a very important cause!!

  • RAN Entertainment


Contact us by email or call 888.LLS.7177.