Dear CML patent advocates at CML Horizons 2016: Welcome to my beautiful country Slovenia. As we say: the tiny country on the sunny side of the Alps.
My name is Tanja Fajon. Some of you will know me as a politician or as a former journalist. Working to make our world a better place for everyone has been at the core of my life since I was a young girl.
It's my big pleasure to have this opportunity to speak to you: gathered here today, representing people with CML. I am one of them, too. In 1995 when I was a student the doctors diagnosed me - I have a chronic myeloid leukaemia. One can imagine the shock I felt hearing the news and all the ups and downs that followed in the years to come. I was fortunate to survive and be fully cured. This was without a bone marrow transplant but with Glivec, the cancer treatment drug that I was privileged to get in time.
One cannot describe all the things that we as patients get to experience. It's a permanent battle. It is a battle for life, for best access to the medical care and medications, and for information. We all share similar life stories. We are all fighters. My experience with the disease taught me that life is unpredictable and that it is too precious to waste a single day. It taught me too, that with every New Year there is a better chance for treatment. This I wish every one of us could have: the access to modern care and medications. Together we need to raise the awareness of CML and exchange best practices. I am trying to do so through my work in the European Parliament and with the Associations of patients at home. I would especially like to thank to The Slovenian Lymphoma and Leukaemia Patient Association, L&L with whom I work closely.
Without my excellent doctors in Slovenia, without my family and friends, without my work that I love, the battle would have been much harder. The disease is a self-awareness test for us, test of our strength. We learn to fight, we learn to appreciate things, and we learn to help others. I sometimes wish all people would share our experience. I know it is wrong to say but to understand how precious our life is. As with that we would better respect ourselves and help make our world better.
We share our great mission: we all want to do our utmost to improve survival chances and quality of life for leukaemia patients. We must strengthen our forces as leukaemia survivors to be true advocates in our support to other patients on a day to day basis.
I wish you an interesting conference, a great opportunity to learn and exchange, an opportunity to network and create. Our commitment and determination can really make a difference! I welcome you once again in Ljubljana to CML Horizons 2016.