Sarah Almagro Vallejo's life was turned upside down last July. The 18-year-old had suffered severe abdominal pain, vomiting and fever the night of 22 July and was taken to the emergency department early the next morning with suspected gastroenteritis.
The Costa del Sol Hospital diagnosed Sarah with sepsis, which was causing her organs to fail. She spent ten days in an induced coma. As a consequence of the sepsis, Sarah lost her hands and her feet, needs dialysis several times a week and is still an inpatient at the Hospital Regional Universitario in Malaga where she has been receiving skin grafts.
Sepsis causes more deaths each year than breast or colon cancer, with 16,000 people affected annually in the province of Malaga, according to the Sociedad Andaluza de Medicina Intensiva y Unidades Coronarias.
Social media has allowed Sarah's story to be shared, gaining support and educating people on this deadly disease. It has also raised funds for Sarah that, once she leaves the hospital and begins rehabilitation, will be used to purchase the protheses she needs, "to give her a life as similar as possible to the one she had before," explained her father Ismael Almagro. He has promised his daughter "the most advanced prostheses on the market" as the ones provided by the health service "are made for older people, not for an 18-year-old girl."
In order to fulfill his promise, Ismael attended the international Orto Medical Care fair in Madrid, where the latest developments in prostheses are presented. He said he entered "with the world on his shoulders" and left with the solution, bionic prostheses. At around 200,000 euros for the four extremities which last for around six years, the family decided to make Sarah's story public in the hope of raising the necessary funds.
The response from the residents of Marbella was better than the family could ever have imagined and they have received 'a wave of love'. Three family friends, two solicitors and an economist, have formed 'Somos Tu Ola' (we are your wave), a group who will be responsible for raising the funds. They aim to provide for the "real needs and problems" of people who have suffered sepsis and / or amputations on the Costa del Sol.
Marbella town hall, supported by sports clubs in the town, have organised a fundraising weekend for Sarah. Seven sporting events will take place between 15 and 16 December and will include a relay race and rythmic gymnastics exhibition. Anyone wishing to take part can do so bypurchasing a wristband for 2.50 euros.