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Published on 30 September 2010 in Racconti

Do you trust people?

Do you trust your buddy when you climb?

There are people that are obliged to trust, hoping that their companion is up to the job. These are the people waiting forbone marrow transplant. Bone marrow transplant is necessary to cure various illnesses, like aplastic anemias, thalassemias, and leukimias and often it is the only chance of survival for patients. Finding a compatible donor is not easy: the probability is 1 in 100.000 and in the whole world there are only 14 million donors. Every day someone dies because their genetic brother, their human-medicine, their medicine man, either does not know about bone marrow donation or decides not to donate a small part of himself. Everyone of us, with a small action as subscribing to the bone marrow registry is, can change things.

Change for the better.

Climbing is a profoundly ethic sport, a characteristic easily identified if you look at this practice from a certain angle. The life of a climber is always in the hands of his partner. Of course, the physical aspect, the knowledge on the materials and concentration are aspects that cannot be overlooked. Nevertheless is you fall, your savior will be the rope, and the rope is always held by somebody: whoever climbs places his life in somebody else’s hands taking all the chances that this implies. The person holding the rope is aware of the extremely serious consequences that any kind of distraction or mistake would have for the climber.

Nobody could possibly think of letting his partner fall to the ground deliberately.

Bone marrow is “a factory where blood is made”. Hematopoietic bone marrow is that tissue, enshrined in the core of long and flat bones of the human body, deputed to the production of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. The majority of people throughout their life will never have to worry about this tissue or anything related to it. For others, instead, this is of capital importance.

Bone marrow can stop working properly or cease to do its job all together. This give rise to a wide range of pathologies, known as aplastic anemias, thalassaemia, leukimias and others.

The outcome is often fatal.

In most cases it is possible to effectively treat these diseases with a bone marrow transplant, through which life and a chance to regain good health could be guaranteed to the patient.

Bone marrow transplant is a well established medical treatment applied for over 20 years and is basically free from complications for the donor. The major difficulty of the procedure is finding a compatible donor who must be young, in good health and be immunologically compatible with the recipient patient, but most of all, it is the will to donate a piece of ourselves to save somebody else’s life, that is needed.

The possibility of these circumstances happening simultaneously is, however, quite low: the chance of immunologic compatibility between unrelated people is in the order of one in a hundred thousand, 1 in 100.000. If this were not sufficient most people are not aware of the role they could play or are reluctant to take action. Generally this happens because people are misinformed.

At 31 October 2010 there were only 14.617.763 donors in the world wide registry for bone marrow donors.

A consequence of this is that every year an undefined number of people die substantially because of ignorance, because their potential “genetic brother”, their “human-medicine” does not know or refuses to learn about these issues.

It is curious… When everything goes to plan, like when you climb and you fall your climbing companion realizes andbreaks your fall by blocking the rope. But if the rope that ties us to our “genetic brothers” is less visible than those we use on slabs and we rarely realize our companion is about to fall.

This is Climb for Life’s aim: raise awareness and make people understand that a small action, like becoming a bone marrow donor, could save somebody’s life.

Turn these invisible ropes in something very visible.

Thankyou very much for your time and attention, and also for all you may decide to do.

Giovanni “Spit”, climber in list for a bone marrow transplant.

One amongst many.

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