Touching words written by little girl Anđela from Makarska
This is a story that was faxed to us by our colleagues who are in Makarska right now, working on an action of gathering blood samples for standardization. The story is taken from a school notebook, homework actually – written in a touching way, in a charming child’s handwriting.
Anđela’s younger brother Dino died eight months ago. He was ill with the same leukaemia type as our Ana was.
Hopefully our joint work will eventually make sad stories like this disappear from children’s notebooks in Croatia.
some people think misery is when they lose a CD, or when a game is broken, when a parrot flies away, or a fish dies, when they can’t buy something, when they don’t win the lottery and nonsense like that. For me misery is something completely different.
I am sorry for the fish that dies, I am sad, but I can always buy another in Zoo Hobby. If a computer game is broken, my brother burns me a new one. All these miseries are easily forgotten, and problems solved. Your brother helps you, or your sister, your Mum and Dad, your friend. The true and most enormous misery for me was when I found out my younger brother was ill with leukaemia. My mother explained to me that maybe it might be cured if I give him my bone marrow. And so I did, three times.
All my effort was in vain. Nothing could be done to help him. Then the greatest misery happened to me. My brother died. I cannot get another brother. I cannot burn him, nor buy him. He is one and only. That is true misery in life.
Anđela Vranješ, Makarska
Born March 23rd, 1998 (9 years old)
This is how Makarska Chronicle told the story of Anđela’s brother Dino:
Author: Ružana Kovač
When Mrs. Anita Vranješ, her husband Stjepan and other two kids found out that their six years old Dino is ill with leukaemia, their whole world collapsed. Dino used to catch colds often; he had inflammations of ear and throat. With time, I started to notice how he was beginning to stutter because he was out of breath when speaking. The doctors concluded the problem was his third tonsil, so we decided to remove it. During the preoperational tests, Dino was diagnosed with leukaemia, his mother remembers. It was in May 2005. In next thirteen months, as long as his fight lasted, three bone marrow transplantations were done on him. Each time the donor was his 2 years older sister Anđela.
– The first couple of times Dino’s body rejected the new bone marrow. The third time, when the transplantation was successful at last, the infection got him, then sepsis, and then lungs and brain oedema. In the end that was the cause of his death six days later.
Although Dino’s fight didn’t end tragically because he had no donor, his mother is more than conscious of importance of this register to be enormous.
– Bank of bone marrow donors is the solution. The great number of potential donors makes it possible to exchange bone marrow with the USA, where they have a large number of donors. If Croatia could manage and create a really huge register, there would be more possibilities to develop the sterile units, educate people, and do all those other things, which are needed in quality health treatment. But without this register being huge, it is useless – Dino’s mother says.
She thinks the greatest problem is in people who are not conscious or informed enough.
– People are sceptical when it comes to donating bone marrow, because they think it’s like giving away your livers or kidneys. But the bone marrow regenerates in ten days or so, and the procedure is completely harmless for the donor. My Anđela was fine the next day already: she ate and played like she wasn’t anaesthetized – Mrs. Vranješ explains, and adds how she realizes well that people don’t think of illness until it happens to them.
– Nothing can protect you from being ill; not your reputation, not the money. It would be really great if we thought about what we could do for those ill people even when everything’s fine in our own world – Dino’s mother concludes.
Dino knew Ana Rukavina
From the first day of his illness, Dino knew everything, just like his brother and sister did. Of course, it was explained to him in a child’s manner, so he could understand.
– I told him he had those tiny things that nibbled his leukocytes. His hospital room in Split was full of drawings in which those tiny nibbling things were diminished – Mrs. Vranješ says.
Her son met Ana Rukavina at Zagreb Department for transplantation, and he loved spending time with her.
– Oh, he was a real fighter. Once I found him in his room playing cards with doctors and nurses. He took his illness as something he should’ve fought with, and he never lost his spirits, not until the very end – Dino’s mother says proudly with tears in her eyes.