Russia's controversial encroachment into Ukrainian territory is dominating global headlines, but while many are leaving behind controversy embroiling the nation, Troy Eccleston is trying hard to enter Russia.
The Albion Park Rail man has multiple sclerosis and will depart for Moscow in three weeks to undergo stem cell therapy. The cost of travel and treatment is a hefty $70,000, and months of work has helped Mr Eccleston and partner Ainslie Sackey raise almost $49,000.
"We've got to raise $21,000 in 21 days," Ms Sackey said.
"We have the travel paid for and pay for the treatment when he arrives."
At a fund-raiser on Sunday at Tullimbar Inn, a signed St George Illawarra Dragons jersey was raffled to help cover Mr Eccleston's expenses. As part of the day, the inn was to attempt a world record for largest gathering of people dressed as cows, but it was aborted last minute.
Mr Eccleston has lived with MS for 12 years but his health has deteriorated rapidly. Ms Sackey said he could hardly walk and had to use a wheelchair.
"We are getting married next year and he will walk down the aisle," she said.
The family have been selling boxes of chocolates and running raffles as part of their "To Russia And Back To Beat MS" campaign, and have two final fund-raising events. There's a fund-raiser at Albion Park Bowling Club on Friday and a send-off event at the Oaks Hotel, Albion Park on September 13.
More information at www.torussiaandbacktobeatms.com.