My name is Iñaki and I was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia in September 2002.
At that time I was 27 years old and I saw myself as invincible and thought nothing could stop me. Today I am 36 and, fortunately, I still think the same.
In my case I was lucky as I didn't need to go through chemotherapy or radiotherapy, nor did I need a bone marrow transplant. I didn't suffer physically although I did psychologically. When you are 27 and you are diagnosed with cancer everything falls apart and you realize how weak the human being is.
At that time I had a beautiful girlfriend who is now my wife and whom I own everything. She was the one who encouraged me in the most difficult moments, the one who risked everything to stay with me and the one who gave me 3 wonderful children.
I remember my first talks with the doctors, when they used to talk about a 12-year survival, sterility and uncertainty... It's amazing how times have changed and how lucky we are to be able to see how time is on our side thanks to researchers that work hard to eradicate the most devastating disease of the planet.
About these 10 years I remember the unconscious nervousness every time I had a medical check-up, the sensation of feeling like a yoghurt with an expiring date written on my front. I remember how this disease destabilized my life, broke my self-confidence and increased my egoism.
Today I am still ill. My chronic disease lives with me, but my situation is great. I am in full remission, treated with Glivec, with low phosphorous, vitamin D going up and down, muscular cramps but a lot of optimism.
My doctor is now talking about decades and decades of life expectancy. He also says that healing will come in the future. He talks about new and more effective treatments that we already have and more that will come. And this is the message I want to give to those who, like me, are living with the illness.
After 5 years living with my CML I met Juan in the extraction BOX of the Haematology department. Juan was younger than me, he had just been diagnosed with CML and he was really nervous. He reminded me of myself so much that I instinctively calmed him and told him: "Calm down. It seems serious, but I can tell you there is no reason to worry". I have never met him there again and I am sure he doesn't even remember me, but I know that this is the message I would have liked to hear that day in September 2002.
As you can see my story is a happy one. Although I have leukaemia I am lucky compared to other more serious cases, not as optimistic as mine. I hope my testimony can help and encourage those who are suffering or are unaware of the existence of this type of diseases. I will be pleased to collaborate with you on June 23rd.
Thank you for listening!
Big hug and thanks for your work.
If you want more information about the donation of bone marrow to help people like Iñaki (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.