Cancer made me a better person (Brazil)

My name is Luis Fernando Afonso and I work as a voluntary at ONG Pró Medula.
My history began as a patient in December 2012, when I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoid Leukemia. At that time, I was informed that only a bone marrow transplant could save my life. Hearing that is not easy for anyone, even more when you don´t know anything about cancer. After that, I decided I would face my disease head on, with a lot of humor , faith and willpower.
Thanks to the Grace of God I was presented with two 100% matched brothers and received my transplant in September 2013.

During the two years of treatment, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and transplant, I got in touch with the struggle of different people – children, elderly, young people, women, black, white , poor and rich – because cancer makes no distinctions. Among those who were looking for their compatible donors some of them deceased, leaving a terrible pain I did not feel before.

So, I asked myself – even though I used to be a voluntary blood donor, how come I have never been a bone marrow donor? And I realised that the lack of information had been the reason for that. After some guilt and regret, I decided to dedicate my survival to promote the importance of bone marrow donation.

During the last 7 years, I have been involved with awareness and registration campaigns in various places such as parks, colleges, religious temples, associations and even rock shows like Rock in Rio (2017 and 2019).
I didn’t plan having cancer but, today, I can say that cancer made me a better person helping people through actions or simply supporting words.
Today I have a 100% normal life and I try to bring hope and help to those in need, as I needed one day.

“I had cancer, but cancer never had me.”