"Raúl, our one-year-old son, had been running an on and off fever for several weeks. We had taken him several times to the doctor but kept saying there was nothing we should worry about. Nonetheless, on Sunday June 26th 2011 we decided to go the emergency room of the Hospital de Nens in Barcelona, where when they took a look at his chest and back, all covered with bruises, they decided to take a blood analytic. Some hours later they sat us in an office with several doctors to give us the worst news: the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets were in the minimum levels. Raúl had leukaemia.
In two hours we were at the Sant Pau Hospital's ICU, with our son intubated and receiving blood and platelet transfusions. We couldn't believe what we were living, we were absolutely devastated.
After a bone marrow aspiration they gave us the diagnosis, which couldn't be worse: high-risk M7 acute myeloblastic leukaemia, an unusual case. Raúl needed a bone marrow transplant but there was only a 40% chance it would work.
Because none of us, not even his sister, were compatible with him, the José Carreras Foundation initiated the search for a compatible non-family bone marrow donor. Two months later we got the big news: they had found a 100% compatible umbilical cord blood unit from a baby born in New York. They did the transplant on November 16th 2011; perhaps this date is now his second birthday.
During the seven months he was admitted and shut in an aseptic room, Raul behaved like a champion. Despite we went through difficult moments, we never loss the will to fight thanks to the fact that he never lost his smile. Every day he would give us his care and the best of his smiles.
Now, a year after the transplant, Raúl is great. His blood tests are perfect and he can lead a normal life. Since we got out of the hospital a year ago, we haven't had to go back except to attend the monthly check-ups.
From here I want to truly thank the José Carreras Foundation and the Dr. Isabel Badell from the paediatric haematology service at the Sant Pau Hospital in Barcelona and all her medical team and nurses. Your work is priceless."
Abel (Raúl's father)