Letter from the President of the Josep Carreras Foundation and the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute
“We won't stop”
Our motto is dynamic, our purpose is resolute and our determination is relentless. Let me explain why.
I recovered from leukemia thanks to the extraordinary work of the health professionals who took care of me when I was ill. Like many grateful patients, I was able to benefit from the steady persistence of scientists in pursuit of a cure. Some of the healing drugs I received were in the very early stages of application to patients. Thus, beyond the general appreciation that any citizen feels for these great human beings devoted to improving other people’s lives, the fruit of the researchers’ work became very tangible and immediate, not to say life-saving.
Out of gratitude, together with my family and a very distinguished group of scientists, professionals of various fields and entrepreneurs I created the Jose Carreras International Leukemia Foundation in my home town Barcelona in 1988. Other sister organizations in Seattle, Geneva and Munich followed. Ever since then, our approach has been to support any kind of activity needed that we could afford.
So, in 1992, we created the, at the time, nonexistent Spanish Registry of Bone Marrow Donors (REDMO). Other big steps were the funding of the initial steps of the pioneering Düsseldorf and Barcelona cord blood banks, currently two of the most important in the world. In more recent times, a stable cooperation in the same field started a partnership with the Swiss Bone Marrow Donor Registry. A great deal of effort and many resources have gone to creating and upgrading bone marrow transplant units, both in Germany and Spain. Providing free lodging for low income families who must travel in order to receive treatment and grants to patients and pediatric patients parents’ associations are also some of our endeavors.
Needless to say, we have continuously provided financial help for research by means of fellowships, professorships and, mainly, through grants for projects and for the creation of laboratories and other scientific infrastructures. Other institutions around the world are making remarkable contributions, which inspire us to follow their example.
However, too many patients die of leukemia. Many children are lost prematurely; young adults disappear leaving families with emptiness impossible to fill and seniors cannot enjoy a peaceful retreat after a whole life of hard work. We do not clearly know the causes for the onset of the disease. Treatments have very pervasive side effects.
We need to do more. We won’t stop until leukemia becomes a totally curable disease. The creation of the Jose Carreras Leukemia Research Institute is a new manifestation of our driving impulse: a continuous fight until the defeat of the disease. We will do whatever is within our power in order to help achieve our goal.
Thanks to a team of extraordinary physicians and life sciences experts, to the support of the Catalan government and to the solidarity of our generous donors our Institute is a reality, one that will be instrumental in helping us to reach our goal.
I wish to thank you for your interest in our institution and invite you to come in and join us in our crusade.