Patient's stories

Si Yuan

Attached to life by ... an umbilical cord

When I was young, the idea of illness entered my life when my cousin was told he had Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Just three months later, I lost my best childhood friend… and my innocence.

At just 13, I begged my parents to let me take some medical tests and, in that same year, I was diagnosed with a blood defect with an unknown cause.

It was like learning that there was a time bomb in my body.

It’s then in 2016, when I was just starting at university, that my problems really began. After only one term of my medical studies, I really did not feel well. I told myself that I was studying too hard and that I wasn’t doing enough sport ... but I ended up waking up in an emergency room with critical anemia.

The time bomb, six years after starting to tick, finally had a name: myelodysplastic syndrome. A blood cancer. That's when I was told about bone marrow transplants, a treatment that had the power to permanently cure my disease. But it needed a donor.

I still remember my doctor's smile when my parents told him that they had kept some blood from my sister's umbilical cord. A month later, we received the results: "100% compatible". We had tears in our eyes. My little sister’s stem cells were going to save my life!

Today, I have never felt so full of energy. Two years after putting my life on hold, I can’t wait to return to medical school. I am very grateful for the second chance I have had, but I dream of a world where stem cell transplantation is not the exception, but a treatment accessible to all.

If we join forces, like my sister’s blood joined mine, and support care and research, stories of miracles like mine will continue to multiply.

 

Every day, stem cell treatments change lives and reprogram the story of patients just like Si Yuan.