YOU and only YOU may be the compatible donor for a patient
"Hello, my name is Joel and I am only 6 years old. I have a brother called Ivan. We live in Cambrils (Tarragona). I'm not feeling too well and my parents say that it's because I'm ill". Joel suffered from a blood disease called Congenital bone marrow aplasia which is the disappearance of blood stem cells from the bone marrow, which are responsible for producing blood cells (red and white ones, and platelets). It is not well known, it only affects between 2 to 6 people per million. The only possible treatment is a bone marrow transplant from a compatible donor. Usually, the ideal donor is a sibling. Only 1 in 4 patients have a relation that is a compatible donor. Neither Iván, Joe's twin brother, nor his parents were compatible donors. Because of this, Joel had to turn to the José Carreras Foundation who, through their REDMO programme (Registry of Bone Marrow Donors), we were able to find a compatible donor for him.
Joel, during treatment
In February 2010, Joel was able to undergo a bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor and he is now slowly recovering. His father, Roman, says: "Now everything has changed and Joel has a plan: he wants to return home soon, wants to go to school and play with his friends, wants to play tennis, wants to learn to swim, wants..., well, he wants to be like any other child of his age. We know it'll be difficult because we've a long way to go. Recovery will be slow, there'll be continuous visits to hospital for blood tests, he'll need more than one blood transfusion, occasionally he'll have to be readmitted into hospital but, eventually, it'll all come to an end and he'll be able to do everything that he can't do now. His brother Ivan will help him to achieve his goal. Because he is going to make it, that we are certain of.