Marisol Bohlig kennt das Gefühl, wenn das eigene Leben womöglich von der uneigennützigen Hilfe einer fremden Person abhängt. Mit 21 Jahren ist sie an Blutkrebs erkrankt und überlebte dank einer intensiven Chemotherapie. Dabei hatte sie großes Glück, denn ein(e) StammzellspenderIn konnte für sie zu dieser Zeit nicht gefunden werden, da ihr "genetischer Zwilling" sich noch nicht als potenzielle(r) SpenderIn registriert hatte. Trotz dessen sie es auch ohne eine(n) SpenderIn geschafft hat zu überleben, setzt sich die Berlinerin seitdem selbst dafür ein, dass sich möglichst viele Menschen zwischen 17 und 55 Jahren mit zwei Wattestäbchen typisieren lassen. Gemeinsam mit dem VKS organisierte sie zahlreiche Typisierungsaktionen in Berlin. Ob am Oberstufenzentrum Handel oder bei der Brotmeisterei Steinecke, sie fand neue potenzielle LebensretterInnen und kann damit heute selbst BlutkrebspatientInnen Hoffnung schenken.
Im Sommer dieses Jahres konnte sie bei der Gründung des VKS Paraguays mit vor Ort sein. Wie in einem vorhergehenden Blogbeitrag beschrieben, konnte dort mit der ersten Stammzellspenderdatei des Landes, an Blutkrebs erkrankten Menschen in Paraguay, Lateinamerika und der Welt ein Signal der Zuversicht geschenkt werden. Leben retten kennt keine Ländergrenzen, das ist auch Marisol bewusst. So hielt sie während ihres Aufenthalts eine berührende Ansprache, die wir euch hier in Originalform präsentieren möchten. Vielleicht motiviert es euch, euch als guten Vorsatz 2020 ein Set zu bestellen. In jedem Fall zeigen die Worte uns allen, was es bedeutet, so dringend die Hilfe eines anderen zu brauchen:
"My name is Marisol, I'm 26 years old and in November 2014, at the age of 21, I was
diagnosed with leukemia. I was treated according to the so-called G-MALL protocol, which includes one
year of predominantly inpatient stay, which meant I had to stay mostly in the hospital.
Due to some serious complications, my inpatient therapy lasted almost twoyears, during which I had only
a few opportunities to go home and rest. My inpatient therapy was followed by a maintenance therapy until
the summer of 2016. I felt confident in the hospital I was being treated at. I knew I could have changed
facilities if I ever felt that the doctors or nurses seemed incompetent. My doctor always consulted with
a friend of mine, who is also a doctor in another city. It has always helped me to know that two specialists
discuss the best treatment options and work together to develop the best course of action.
For me as a patient, it was important to know that you could have a secondopinion at any time.
I would always recommend to ask for a second opinion. It can be soothing when one's destiny does not
depend on the decisions of a single person. What is equally important is a very well trained staff.
The nursing staff should know how to handle isolated patients properly and to comply with hygiene
regulations in all respects. Most patients also need psychological help, which was offered to me and my
family without us having to ask, and which can be really helpful. People do not necessarily want to talk
to their relatives about certain fears in order to protect them. An especially important point was that
my parents and my friends came to visit and I could spend a lot of time with them. This distraction
was almost the most important thing and made me forget what I'm going through right now.
Since I was able to absorb only little food during the treatment over longer periods of time,
I often was given so-called astronaut food and liquid food via infusion. As soon as I was able to eat
a little bit again, my father always brought me meals from outside, because the food in the hospital,
especially after a longer stay, was not always suitable for promoting my appetite. In the summer of 2015,
I felt particularly bad, the chemotherapy had pulled my blood levels down so that my body could not
recover properly for a long time. I got severe pneumonia, blood poisoning, stomach inflammation, and
other very serious infections. At that time they were looking for a stem cell donor because it seemed
that my blood would not regenerate at all. The shocking news was that no donor was found for me.
Because my mother is from Nicaragua, it is particularly difficult for patients like me to find a suitable
donor, because comparatively few Latin Americans are registered as stem cell donors. For people,
who are ethnically mixed, it is even more difficult to find suitable stem cell donors.
It's hard to describe that feeling. Knowing that my life may depend on another person who probably does
not even know that it is so easy to register as a stem cell donor and that you do not take a
big risk on a donation made me want to scream this message out loud, let everyone know that you can
do something, that it's easy to save lives.I did not want to die although I maybe could have been helped.
Fortunately, I was able to overcome this difficult time without a donor, but I still did not want to give up
the search for one. Because of this feeling and experience, I have been very committed to finding
potential donors for myself - but of course for all patients in a similar situation as well.
I understood the importance of having a large number of donors available, because the chances of a
“match” are generally very small and therefore the number of potential donors is crucial. It was at that
time that I realized that my life couldn't only depend on the work of others who carefully set up
and fill registers, and also that there are so many people with leukemia - including many children -
who are unable to act on their own. For these people, I would like to work hard to give them hope.
For them, I can now scream out loud. I have already organized many typing campaigns, most of them
in Berlin, and Ihave already thought of building up a register in my mother's homeland. There is no such
institution - I think this is a big problem with regard to the patients. In my efforts there, I have met a
lot of people affected. Many family members and other helpers find themselves together in clubs and
foundations and are committed to improving the situation for the patients. Here in Paraguay I see this
commitment as well and I am so pleased that, among other things, these efforts, certainly with the help
of multiple organizations, politicians, doctors, family members and other specialists, have now created the
conditions for taking a very big step forward. Until now, it was certainly not easy. I am glad that I can be
a part of what happens here and that I can give something back with my work to the VKS, the doctors and
all of the people who have contributed to leukemia healthcare and therefore also my health.In the end,
we are all one family, we can find each other worldwide when we need each other. But you have to be typed
for that. I invite every Paraguayos to become a lifesaver! I already know that the number of people who
can be saved not only here but worldwide by this surge in new donors will rise significantly! There should
always be someone available for every patient, not just at the bedside. I'm so happy that now another
whole country is working for just that. I am happy about all of the acquaintances I have made and will make,
about the work that is still ahead of us and I wish everyone good luck for the future."