Members of the table tennis family are being urged to join the ITTF and Table Tennis England in helping to fund life-saving treatment for a Rio Olympics heroine.

Philippines ace Ian Lariba needs to raise US$60,000 for treatment after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia earlier this year.

The devastating news came after the 22-year-old player had experienced the best year of her life in 2016, when she competed at the Rio Olympic Games, where she was given the honour of carrying her nation’s flag at the opening ceremony. The diagnosis came just days before she was due to compete at the 2017 World Championships.

Lariba has already completed three cycles of chemotherapy and three bone marrow aspirate and biopsies, but now has to undergo a total body irradiation and bone marrow transplant which will cost US$60,000.

After the ITTF Dream Building Foundation’s $20,000 donation, $40,000 is still needed for the Philippines hero to pay for her treatment. Table Tennis England has pledged £1,000 towards the cost.

An internet page has been set up for donations and can be found by clicking here. You can also watch a short film abaout Lariba’s journey.

ITTF President Thomas Weikert said:

When I heard that Ian Lariba needed money to pay for her fight against leukaemia, it was clear that the ITTF had to support her as she is an inspiration to all.

I was so proud seeing Lariba carry out the Philippines flag in Rio 2016, it was a moment not just for Lariba, but also for our sport as well.

The newly created ITTF Dream Building Foundation has donated $20,000 to the cause and we are asking the whole table tennis family to get behind our hero.