"My story begins when I was 3 years old (I just turned 30). For what my mother has told me, she noticed that the glands in my groin were swollen. When she realized this symptom she went straight to the Ramon y Cajal Hospital in Madrid. There she showed the doctors what she had seen and quickly they started running some tests.
After getting the results they concluded that what I had was cancer, specifically Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
The process seemed tough and slow but, because we had caught the illness in an early stage, I had possibilities to get cured. By then, I was very young, another positive thing in order for the process to go favourably. It's not the same thing the illness in a child than in someone quite old.
I remember some precise moments of the process: the day they shaved my head, the days of the lumbar punctures, the innumerable tests, analysis, some days I had to be admitted, etc.
I am not going to lie: I don't remember if it was tough or not. Well, the punctures I do remember them and they weren't easy at all. I guess that there weren't very good moments during the process but when you are three years old, you aren't very aware of certain things.
The process kept going until I turned seven years old: visiting the hospital, trying to have a normal life and trying to go on this long journey.
Twenty-six years after going through all this I can say that I feel proud for waking up every morning and smiling. A lot of times, I stop and think about how lucky I have been, about how, thankfully, my parents reacted in time, and Dr. Madero and Dr. Muñoz, two great specialists in paediatric cancer, did a great job. I have to thank them smiling every day.
César, enjoying his passion, bicycles
I know I am fortunate for being here writing these lines for all of those who, like me, are going through what I did many years ago.
Today I am a 30-year-old man in love with bicycles. Since I am 15 years old I ride my bicycle 4 or 5 days a week. I have participated in competitions and every day I ride my bike is a great day. I have collaborated in several activities inside the sector, which I am very proud of. Today, I am a bicycle coach and guide at the Sierra in Madrid. In my free time, I also ride a bicycle.
My brother, the eldest, tells me that when I was a child they didn't give me chemotherapy but Asterix's magical potion. I can't stop moving, apart from collaborating in a bicycle store I have another job, and every time they ask me if I want to go out at night I say yes, if I am offered to travel somewhere where I can have fun with my bicycle I do so.
I know that you will go through very hard moments, that in some cases, they will be sad moments, that your parents and brothers will suffer, that it will be long, that you will have to resign many things due to the illness, but just think about one thing: in that moment when they tell you that you're cured, in that moment when you get back your liberty, in that smile that will stay with you every day you wake up... You are going to win this battle as I did.
Today there are much more advanced treatments than when I was ill.
When they offered me the chance to write this story I didn't doubt it for one second, and I even invited my mother to write it herself, for she lived it the same way I did. Well, my father and my brothers also lived it, but mothers do so in a special way.
I want to thank the José Carreras Foundation for the opportunity of letting me write my experience as an ex-Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma patient.
Greetings to Maxi and Nora and all of the people who are now going through what me and many other people have been through, and we are now walking through life as if it had only been a bad dream.
Hugs and kisses!"
César Cristóbal Puerta
If you want more information about the donation of bone marrow to help people like César (and many other patients) to have the opportunity of a cure, click HERE. Remember that the donation of bone marrow is altruistic, anonymous, and universal. If you register as a bone marrow donor, you could be making a donation to a person from anywhere in the world. If you want more information, write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on our free phone number (in Spain) 900 32 33 34.
You could also become a member of the José Carreras Foundation. With a little amount you could help us to continue our research.