"Hello my name is Neus Saumell, I'm 40 years old, divorced and have two children, 7 year-old twins (a boy and a girl).  We live in Vilafranca del Penedès (Barcelona).  On December 16th 2009, I went to my town's hospital because I suffered from a strong pain in the side and, after taking a blood test, the doctor told me he had to send me to Bellvitge because I had leukaemia and they didn't have the means there to give me a bone marrow puncture.

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They drove me in an ambulance to the hospital.  When I heard the word leukaemia I thought I was going to die.  What would happen to my children? (their father left us when they were 3 months old and doesn't take charge of them).  Well, all kinds of desperate thoughts.  When I got there they took a lot of tests to identify what type of leukaemia I had and a lot of blood, platelets and plasma transfusions.  I was admitted directly to the ICO de l'Hospitalet de Llobregat (Duran and Reynals Hospital).

The doctors explained the process to me and told me that they had to find out what type of leukaemia I had to be able to know if I needed a transplant or not.  During these days I was in total shock.  Everything was happening so quickly.  The admission in the seventh floor of haematology was long: 30 days without being able to see my children.

The second admission was the same process as chemotherapy.  However, I already knew some people who were also admitted and the lovely nurses and auxiliaries who were of great comfort.  This time they told me that my type of disease was acute myeloid leukaemia M4, that initially I would need a bone marrow transplant and that they would run some tests on my three brothers .

Transplant was a word that horrified me.  It was the last resort to cure my leukaemia.  This second admission was very long, my defences didn't rise and I was admitted for 45 days.  Luckily my children visited me and I relied on the great company of my family who didn't leave me alone, night or day.  The news came and one of my brothers (the elder one, Josep) was one hundred percent compatible with me.

Before my third admission for the transplant, both my brother and I were told how everything would work.  On April 1st 2010, at 12.00pm the transplant took place.  It didn't seem true that a small bag could be what would safe my life and 23 days later I was discharged.

During the first few weeks I panicked: what if I had rejected it?  What if I suffered a relapse?  But I thought that if I had had a second chance I wasn't going to waste it being sad about the possibility of becoming sick again and I recovered the motto I had in the hospital room and which I now have at home: "CARPE DIEM" (seize the moment).  That is the motto I think about every day when I wake up.

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Waking up every day and seeing my children grow up is priceless.  I was very lucky that my brother was able to give me his marrow.  Although there are a lot of other companions who aren't that lucky and who are waiting for a donor.  We only become aware of it when we need it but, if we can, why not help all of these people who need a donor.  We are all different aged people but we all want to continue LIVING.

Today I feel very involved with this cause and I feel impotence for not having enough resources to make people see how easy it is to become a donor.  BECAUSE WE DESERVE IT, WE DESERVE OUR SECOND CHANCE.


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