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Alberto

Unstoppable Testimonies

Our Unstoppables are our reason for being!

Testimonies of the struggle and overcoming of the adults and children who are Unstoppable against leukaemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma..

Alberto

Donor testimonial

My name is Alberto, I am 39 years old and I am one of the lucky bone marrow donors who finally received the long awaited “call”. But let’s start at the beginning.

My wife, Ana, and I were about to have our second child in the middle of the pandemic and one day we were just chatting about those vital things we hadn’t yet done. It was then that Ana first told me about the foundation and the process of becoming a bone marrow donor.
The subject got me thinking for a while and, without giving it any more thought, I went to the Hospital Clínic to donate blood and, while I was at it, to ask about the requirements for bone marrow donation.

I had an interview with a doctor who explained the whole process from start to finish, with plenty of details and answering all my questions and voilà, I was on the list. How easy!

The truth is that once you are registered as a donor you fantasise from time to time about being called, but you never think that you will be the lucky one, and I say lucky because, believe me, the feeling is of such satisfaction that I cannot describe in words how you feel knowing that somewhere in the world there is a person to whom you are giving a second chance, a second life, as they say. Not only do you give it to that person, but you give it to their parents, their children, their friends, their partners, to everyone around them.

In my case, the day everyone had said would likely never come actually came. I received a call within a few months of registering. I was the perfect candidate for an UNSTOPPABLE. They explained the entire process once again, but this time it wasn’t just theory, it was actually happening. A few days later I had a complete health check-up and REDMO provided me with personalised advice for resolving any queries I had at any time.

Depending on the patient’s need and your results, the doctor determines the process. In my case, as in the vast majority (90%), it was decided that the donation would take place by apheresis. This consists of taking, three days before the extraction, a drug that stimulates the production of stem cells in your bones. It sounds a bit scary! Well, there’s no need to panic because the medication is safe, you’re permanently monitored and it only causes a slight back pain, as if you had a cold, nothing that a paracetamol won’t solve.

Apheresis is the removal of stem cells from your blood using a machine to which you are connected for a few hours. What can I say about how it felt to be lying in a very comfortable bed for about 4 hours, sleeping peacefully…! With two children at home, a one and a two year old, you will understand that I was in heaven 🙂

People are often scared when they think of donating bone marrow, because they think they will be anaesthetised, they think they will have to endure injections into their bones and they think it is dangerous for their health, and this is probably what deters many potential donors. If I could talk to each one of them I would tell them not to to be scared, that the work carried out by researchers over the last three decades is astounding and that the process is safe, simple and… addictive! At the moment, they don’t need my bone marrow, but I comfort myself by donating blood, which is also much needed for the blood bank reserves.

If I had to sum up my experience in two or three pieces of advice for anyone thinking of becoming a donor, I would say go ahead, don’t hesitate for a second, and if you can’t be a donor because of age or other circumstances, I would propose a challenge: encourage someone else to become a donor. If we were to form a chain of favours, we would give many more UNSTOPPABLES a second chance by matching them with their donor. Just like on a dating app! 😀

When I finished my donation I was interviewed to explain my experience and I was unable to continue after the question: What would you say to the recipient? The image of my two children came to mind and I burst into tears. I cried with joy and emotion, thinking that, if one day they needed a transplant, someone somewhere in the world would be there to help them.

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