Running for Leukemia and Lymphoma Patients

There are situations in life that nobody is able to predict. An accident, an illness, bankruptcy, and many other moments that can be life changing. My name is Maria Luisa Pretelt and I\’m 25 years old. I have a marvelous family, which was unexpectedly hurt when my dad suffered from a heart attack. I\’m thankful to God for his survival, and the blessing for him to enjoy a normal life. Our family\’s solidarity was tested, coming out stronger and more united than ever.

This situation made me mature and reflect on what I could do to help people in need.

Two years ago my aunt was unexpectedly diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer. A woman of great worth, hard worker, entrepreneur, with the role of mother and father. The attitude with which we encounter a situation like this, strongly influences our ability to survive it, and thats how she started to fight. On the medical side, she was supported by organizations who have aimed their efforts to accomplish the right treatments for their patients, which are excessively expensive and a great amount of people lack the resources to receive these treatments.

In Panama there is a high indigenous population living in isolated areas. When diagnosed with leukemia or lymphoma they need to be transferred with the company of a family member to an area possessing the necessary equipment and adequate staff. They need a cost-free lodging location cause the cost of the treatment and medication are very expensive.

I recently received news about my mother\’s friend, Dony. She\’s a 40 year old woman full of life, mother of three, who suddenly fainted. Since her husband was out of town, she called my mother asking her to take her to a nearby clinic. The person who ran tests on her urgently asked my mother to get in touch with the husband and let him know what they had just found. Her hemoglobin was in 4, so she had to be transported from their hometown to the capital city, to an oncology hospital, where they diagnosed her of leukemia. She urgently needed a spinal transplant, and her only sister, who lives in the US traveled to Panama hoping she could donate her bone marrow in order to save her life. Unfortunately, it wasn\’t compatible, so Dony entered the long list of individuals hoping to have the blessing of being a SURVIVOR. To this day she is still submitted to radiations, until a compatible donor is found for the transplant procedure.

I\’m in the US for a few years now, and although my experiences respecting this issue are more related to my country, I know there is a necessity for more research everywhere and I strongly feel this is what we need so more people can receive the appropriate type of support.

LLS (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) is an organization I have joined to contribute in helping over 800,000 US citizens who are victims of this disease and deserve an opportunity to SURVIVE. I am excited to say that on January 27th, I will be running the ING Miami 1/2 Marathon, which is a 13.3 mile run geared towards the contribution for the liberation of our patients\’ struggle. Besides being tax deductible, this contribution will work to find solutions and bring happiness to many affected families.

There is a saying that goes: FOR YOU TODAY, AND FOR ME TOMORROW.
This disease does not respect economical conditions, sex, age or religion. And nobody knows when something like this could happen. This is why I encourage everyone to come together as donors for this journey that may directly or indirectly touch our lives.
It\’s a race, but more than that, its the demonstration of affection and solidarity, with the intention of letting our patients know THEY ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS STRUGGLE.

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