“When they diagnose you with leukaemia on the first day of your life”
At 23:55 on the 20th of May 2009, Gabriela was born in the Virgen de la Arrixaca Hospital in Murcia. She was a beautiful baby but several bruises on her tiny body caused her Doctors to suspect that there was something not completely right. Hours late the worst was confirmed: LEUKAEMIA. Instead of resting with her mother in her hospital room, she was rushed directly to the neonatal intensive care unit.
Vídeo made by the parents of Gabriela and Claudia, which documents their experience during the fight against leukaemia, in order to Gabriela when she grows up
Gabriela, the day on which she was diagnosed with leukaemia. The first day of her life.
To complicate the situation even further, a week later she suffered a stroke. The following week, her father Sergio, sent an email to the José Carreras Foundation summoning the strength from nothing to send a message of support to others who were suffering a similar situation to his daughter: "tonight, if God so desires, Gabriela will be a week old. She is fighting with all her soul, and clinging to life in an incredible way. I cannot continue writing because it brings me to tears. I want to send all my support to those people who find themselves in a similar situation, KEEP GOING, STRENGTH and HOPE".
One month late, little Gabriela received her second cycle of chemo (Chemo of opportunity as her parents called it) and they fitted a Portacath. Luckily, all her family where there to give her cuddles and support, especially her sister Claudia, who is four years older.
Claudia, taking care of her sister Gabriela
Her family explained that: "things were going much better than we had hoped; our girl now had passed 30 days of wonderful life, during which time she had not given up the fight even once. A little gladiator! She was proving to be an example to everyone; even the doctors could not quite believe it. An oncologist told me that Gabriela signifies "Strength of God". What a coincidence!"
Twenty days later, the side effects from the treatment and the lowering of her defences manifested into an intestinal infection and mucositis, as she reached 50 days old.
On the 24th of August the news changed course: Gabriela could enjoy her first "permission" and go with her parents and sister to enjoy the beach. The leukaemia was in remission and despite the complications and severe pneumonia, Gabriela was recovering.
Gabriela and Claudia, at the beach
In October, the GREAT BATTLE began: the transplant. Despite all that she had suffered, Gabriela was tremendously lucky that her sister Claudia was compatible with her. Sergio, the father of the girls, told us that "her sister that she loved so much...compatible, how wonderful life can be sometimes".
Claudia, Gabriela's sister the day of the extraction of cells in order to carry out the transplant for her sister.
The 22nd of October was a big day. "If everything goes to plan, the 2nd will be a big day. I must admit that lately I have been very concerned. I know that after the 22nd there will be a "before" and "after" in Gabriela's life, we just hope that this "after" will be what everyone is hoping for he, an "after" FULL OF LIFE. I am also a little worried about Claudia, to see both of my beloved daughters in hospital is a difficult situation for me", Sergio explained.
Gabriela, on her 1st birthday
On the 10th of November, Gabriela was discharged. The period of isolation had passed well, almost completely free of mucositis and fever. However, for Sergio and Claudia it was a difficult time, to be separated from their daughter and sister respectively. Gabriela was forced to be isolation and only her mother could accompany her. "It has been very hard for Claudia and myself to be separated from the things we love most in the world, my little girl and my wife. But the wait has been worth it, because today the four of us are all together again, which is the MOST WONDERFUL THING THAT HAS HAPPENED IN MY LIFE", explained Sergio. "Since that 22nd of October there has been a multitude of revisions and THANK GOD that all have been positive. EVERY SINGLE ONE, has been ok, not a single bad moment nor one step backwards, nothing, nothing...which has made us feel like the most fortunate people in the world. What more can you ask of life, as all that we deemed important before the birth of Gabriela is now on a second footing??"
Gabriela and Claudia this Christmas: happy, content and beautiful.
Become a member of the cure for leukaemia and other haematological malignancies, HERE
Find out more about bone marrow donation, HERE