The urge to live
The routine of Francesc Morell Ruhí (Cambrils, 1966) would respond to that of a liquor businessman with an extreme tradition in the fishing village if he had not been detected with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) on July 14, 2020. Siscu, as reported knows him, he has consolidated that family work proposal with half a century of validity together with his two brothers, Mercè and Jomari. The Morells have always expressed themselves discreetly and, above all, through an admired sense of humor. The disease, still without a diagnosed cure, has not only changed his existence, but also everyone around him. Nothing has been the same since that July 14, 2020.
The man from Cambrila has become one of the 4,000 cases that appear in Spain and, since he became fully aware of his illness, he has devoted himself completely to spreading ALS throughout Catalonia in order to collect benefits to speed up the process of investigation of it. He has always done it hand in hand with his wife, Joana. Many consider Cambrils as the Catalan capital of ELA.
"I'm sick, but I'm having the best time of my life," he often acknowledges. He claims to feel happiness, despite already moving around with a wheelchair because he suffers almost total damage to his legs. He has learned to value every moment, not to think beyond the next minute. "Right now I'm talking to you here and nothing else is worth it. Before I would have remembered the phone or the bills to pay », he highlights.
Fight to spread the disease and speed up the process of investigating it
The emotional balance that he now has has required an evolution. When the prestigious doctor Mónica Povedano confirmed the ailment, the shock was inevitable, although Siscu had already psyched himself up days before. "Mr. Google has a lot of information," her partner admits. Morell had spent hours collecting data on what he could be suffering from, after several explorations of his body.
«It so happened that a short time before, Juan Carlos Unzué announced that he had ALS. He called me and told me, still without the results, that he suffered the same », recalls his wife. Those omens were fulfilled.
The fight against depression wore him down, he isolated himself from the world in the first few months. He could not bear the initial psychological blow that led him to extreme situations. He cried a lot in solitude and hardly wanted to relate to anyone. The turning point for him and his family came on December 31, 2020, when Siscu tried to get out of the way. "I just wanted to leave." He tried to lose his life at home, although that was in great trouble. Since then, after days in the hospital, the optimism with which he faces his reality makes him an admirable human being.
Siscu has found an unbeatable refuge in the strength of his wife and in the understanding capacity of his two sons, Francesc and Óscar. He also unquestionably supported fellow travelers such as Juan Carlos Unzué, the swimmer Dani Rossines or all the components of Swim for ELA, the group that has devoted itself to acts of solidarity and in which Jordi Cervera from Reus is found. Ildefons Oliveras, also affected by ALS, and the journalist Xavi Torres have joined a group that “is like a family. Without this disease we probably would not have met them. They are people of integrity, who help us a lot”, confesses Joana.
Football and Unzué
Going to the advice of Juan Carlos Unzué served as indispensable therapy for the man from Cambrila, especially to strengthen his emotional weakness in the first stages of his new reality. She had already professed admiration for him before meeting him, when he was first Barça's goalkeeper and later as coach. «He called me and asked me for a video conference. A few days later he and his wife were at home. Siscu did not expect it and was shocked. Of course, the conversation started with the disease, but it turned to football », Joana confirms with a smile, a person who exudes courage and perseverance, although she has suffered her dose of weakness. "I usually go diving with a group of amateur people and in the middle of the activity I fell apart," she emphasizes. Today she is one of the singing voices of Swim for ELA.
«They told me that I should live day by day and I told them that they were wrong; I live every moment, every moment»
The dissemination work enjoys a very consistent response from Cambrils at the village level. It has turned to each of the initiatives that have been carried out so far. “We are very grateful to the city”, highlight both Siscu and Joana, immersed in a new present without losing their smile or their optimistic desire. For example, on June 21, the Torre del Port was lit up green to commemorate the World Day Against ALS.
«They told me that I should live day by day and I told them that they were wrong; I live every moment, every moment. Francesc Morell Ruhí has found stability with this new vital philosophy that he has established in his day to day life. He hates looks of pity, he prefers complicity through normality. His mission is to do everything possible to improve the destiny of those who will come.