Words from a Scleroderma Patient...

July 6, 2009

Victoria Chavez began working with NFT to fundraise in January of 2008 and has truly been an inspiration to us all. After receiving a stem cell transplant last summer, she has spent a great deal of time reaching out to other patients battling Scleroderma and Pulmonary Fibrosis. Read Victoria’s story below to see how she is helping others cope with their illnesses and focus on the positive in life. You can also learn more about Victoria by visiting her personal blog “Victoria’s Miracle: Diary of a Stem Cell Transplant.

No one would know it from looking at me, but a year ago I was dying. With the help of the National Foundation for Transplants, I was able to raise enough money to undergo a lifesaving stem cell transplant, which put my Scleroderma and Pulmonary Fibrosis in remission. Today I'm off oxygen, most of my tests are all in the normal range, I walk eight blocks a day and feel better than ever! Now it's my turn to give back.

Before the transplant, I was homebound for five years, too sick to leave the house and requiring supplemental oxygen around the clock because of the Pulmonary Fibrosis. If I hadn't gotten my transplant, I would have gradually suffocated to death as the Fibrosis spread in my lungs. While going through the grueling post-transplant recovery, I had an epiphany...I decided that when I got better my calling would be to help others who are suffering the same fate I was handed.

Recently I have had several opportunities to make my goal come true. First, I was asked to speak at the Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Conference, where I told my story to others—patients and health care professionals alike—where many people told me that I was an inspiration to them. Second, I am going to travel to the National Scleroderma Conference in a couple of weeks as a representative of the Scleroderma Foundation. Third, I am currently training to become a Scleroderma Foundation Support Group Leader, so that I can continue to tell others like me that there is ALWAYS hope, and positive thinking is key to surviving chronic and sometimes fatal diseases.

Thank you, NFT, for all of your help. I will be forever grateful.

Victoria Chavez
Scleroderma Patient