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The Guardian - US
The Guardian - US
Constance Malleret in Rio de Janeiro

Slain Amazon activist Bruno Pereira’s son fighting rare form of cancer

People hold signs with the portraits of two men with the words 'Justica para Dom & Bruno'
Activists commemorate the one-year anniversary of the murders of Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 5 June 2023. Photograph: Bruna Prado/AP

Leading artists, Indigenous activists and politicians across Brazil are urging people to contribute to a fund to help the son of the slain Amazon activist Bruno Pereira, who has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

Pedro Pereira, five, the son of anthropologist Beatriz Matos and Bruno Pereira – who was ambushed and killed in the western Amazon in June 2022 alongside the British journalist Dom Phillips – was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma last year.

After five months of chemotherapy, he requires treatment with the drug Qarziba, which is not available on Brazil’s Sus public health system and costs about 88,000 reais (£14,200, $18,000) per dose.

A #SavePedro crowdfunding campaign is aiming to raise 2 million reais to guarantee the young boy’s access to the life-saving treatment.

A boy smiles for a photo
Pedro, the son of slain Amazon activist Bruno Pereira. Photograph: via Vakinha

Public figures including the minister for Indigenous peoples, Sônia Guajajara, film-maker Kleber Mendonça Filho and Xuxa Meneghel, one of Brazil’s most famous TV presenters, have shared the campaign on social media, urging people to donate and recalling Pereira’s tireless commitment to protecting the Amazon and its Indigenous populations.

“I wasn’t able to be there for his father, who was helping protect my land … But now, people can help us in this effort to guarantee the treatment and protect the life of [Pereira’s] son,” said Beto Marubo, an Indigenous leader from the Javari valley and close friend of the murdered activist.

“This is extremely sad, we’re talking about a child who is five years old, after everything that happened with his father,” added Marubo, who is the young boy’s godfather.

“Little Pedro’s father was assassinated because of a failure by the Brazilian state. We can’t let an act of omission also take away Bruno’s son,” said Sônia Bridi, a journalist who directed Valley of the Isolated, a documentary about Pereira and Phillips’ murders.

“It’s heartbreaking to think that a mother has barely had the time to grieve the loss of her husband and is already having to deal with an extremely serious illness in her young son,” said Bridi, who has followed the family during Pedro’s treatment and hopes the crowdfunding campaign could also help a push to make the drug freely available through the Sus and other healthcare plans.

Members of Phillips’ family have joined in the online calls to raise awareness for the campaign, which has already garnered more than 10,000 pledges.

Three fishermen were charged last year with murdering Pereira and Phillips and are in prison, awaiting trial by jury.

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