Live each day and many years will come!!!
Francesc, at the same spot, before and after suffering from leukaemia
"On the 21st of April, 2004, I was lucky to have a bone marrow transplant. Six years have gone by and my life has changed completely.
Let's go back to the end of 2002, when I went to see my GP because I could feel the glands in my neck and I felt a bit tired. He wasn't very concerned but he carried out some routine tests.
Three days later, once the results from the tests arrived, my doctor wasn't convinced by them and made me take the tests again. The second time round he had me admitted to hospital.
From that point on I had analyses, tests and more tests... until December 2002 when the Oncologist at the Clinic Hospital diagnosed me with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia.
My first thought was "Francesc is done for". But I was very wrong. My wife and children gave me the best treatment a patient could hope for; "LOVE AND COURAGE". I knew that not only did I have to fight for my own sake; I had to fight for theirs too.
Francesc during his treatment at the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona
I got through my traumatic treatment thanks to those I had by my side. Not just my family but also the José Carreras Foundation which offered me a residence beside the hospital which allowed me to become one of the first auto-transplant patients to receive out-of-hospital medical attention.
While recovering from the auto-transplant I received the best treatment possible: my eldest daughter gave me a grandchild. Thanks to this arrival and everyone's support I've been able to overcome what I thought would be impossible in 2002.
My memories of these years are very positive and I've managed to live each day fully. As well as enjoying life I've been working with the Lliga contra el Càncer de Lleida (Lleida's League Against Cancer) and the José Carreras Foundation, by organizing campaigns to raise awareness of the need for bone marrow donors and to encourage mothers to donate umbilical cords to save lives.
I would like to tell those who are starting the awful experience of overcoming leukaemia to not let the disease beat you, fight, don't hide your diagnosis and enjoy everyday life, as we say in Catalan, "Qui dia passa, anys empeny" (which means if you focus on getting through each day, eventually you will have lived a long life). Life is the best thing that's happened to us all. Enjoy it!"
Francesc's letter to a newspaper about umbilical cord Banks:
"Hello. I'm Carla, well, that's what I think my parents and grandparents will call me because I'm expected to be born in October. My mother is called Mónica and I've heard her say many times that there are many boys and girls that have a disease called leukaemia. I don't know what it is but I think it's a blood disease in which the only cure is often a bone marrow transplant. However, many adults do not even consider being donors and so many people who need a transplant end up dying.
My parents say that when I arrive, instead of being born with a silver spoon in my mouth, I'll be born giving one of these children a chance of surviving. I don't quite understand, but as well as looking forward to meeting my family, I also look forward to that child being able to enjoy their parents like I will.
My grandparents are very happy about my arrival because of everything a new life represents. Grandfather Francesc, my mother's father, has this disease but has been able to have an auto-transplant, where the cells for the transplant are his own. He talks a lot about this disease and I hear him explaining different ways of donating bone marrow. First we must convince people between 18 and 55 to become a voluntary donor on the registry which is controlled by the José Carreras Foundation's REDMO (Bone Marrow Donors Registry), who work hard to recruit donors.
My grandfather says that the donor doesn't suffer any pain as it's done by a puncture on the hip under anesthesia. Another way is with peripheral blood, which means the donor's cells are extracted through their blood. And the other way, and here is where I'm involved, is when I'm born the cells in the umbilical cord that connects me to my mother will be used to save a life".
Video made by Francesc to celebrate his 8th anniversary of his auto-transplant
Help people like Francesc 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