CONSTANTIN'S STORY OR "MARROW HAS NO FRONTIERS"
Each year around 300,000 people around the world are diagnosed with leukaemia, 5,000 of which are Spanish. Similarly 18 million people throughout the world are available as bone marrow donors if a patient requires a transplant. Many of these altruistic people are German, as Germany is the second highest country in the world, after the USA, in the number of bone marrow donors.
Many of the umbilical cord blood units that are transplanted throughout the world come from Spanish mothers, as our country is third in the world in the number of stored umbilical cords.
Leukaemia and its cure through bone marrow transplants is everyone's concern, and it's up to everyone around the world to increase the number of donors. Many of the patients on this page have received a transplant from someone German such as Raúl or Mohammed, for example. It is for this reason that we have chosen to explain Manuela's case, a German mother whose son Constantin has overcome leukaemia after a bone marrow transplant, and is recovering slowly.
A letter from Manuela; the mother of Constantin, a 9-year-old leukaemia patient from Germany.
A picture of little Constantin
"Dear Friends of the José Carreras Foundation,
For the past six years there is nothing I have wanted more than a cure for the person I love the most: my son Constantin. Now, at last, he is a bit better.
Six years ago, when I found out that my son -who was then three years old- had leukaemia my world fell apart. However, neither the doctors nor I knew then how hard Constantin's case would be. Initially it looked like a bone marrow transplant would cure him. The treatment weakened his body tremendously: his skin became dry, he developed wounds in the folds of his neck, arms and legs and he had unbearable pains all over his body. Why did such a small child have to suffer so much?
Constantin took a long time to recover from the long-term effects of his treatment but eventually it looked like things were moving forward and we celebrated his first day at school full of hope. This happiness was short-lived, however as just a few days after starting school we received dreadful news from the hospital: his leukaemia had reappeared.
A new bone marrow transplant was needed to save my son. This time the treatment's side-effects were incredibly painful for Constantin. His skin hurt a lot, to the extent that we could not caress him because it caused him pain. In addition he developed serious respiratory problems.
Luckily doctors were able to apply the results from the most recent leukaemia research. So they were able to offer Constantin what he wanted so much: life. He never stopped repeating that.
Thanks to the valuable advances in research it was possible for Constantin to make it. I thank the José Carreras Foundation in Germany for helping people like Constantin by promoting research into therapies that can save leukaemia patients' lives".
Help people like Constantin by becoming a member of the cure for leukaemia and haematological malignacies, HERE. You will help us to continue our research so that one day these diseases will be 100% curable. With only a little you can do so much. Thank you!
Find out more about bone marrow donation, HERE