Luis “Lajos” Arregui Henk sells Crypto art, like the piece shown here, to earn money toward his cancer treatments

Argentinian sells Crypto art to pay for cancer treatments

When I was diagnosed with cancer, my world fell apart, but this project fills me with life.

interview subject
Luis “Lajos” Arregui Henk is a 29-year-old who lives in Argentina and suffers from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

He was an Agricultural Engineer but today he sells crypto art to pay for his cancer treatments.

His artwork is featured on his Instagram account @mrfarkasofficial.
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Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) is one of the four main types of leukemia. This disease refers to cancer in the blood.

Specifically, ALL consists of an abnormal increase in lymphoblasts that do not reach maturity and fail to defend the person from infections. Their exorbitant number displaces the normal cells of the bone marrow, causing a decrease in red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells.

Some of its symptoms are anemia, fatigue, paleness, and slowness in thinking or speaking.

According to the Argentine National Government, to donate bone marrow, you must follow these steps.

The Word Marrow Donor Association also provides information for potential donors.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – At the age of 27, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). 

Treatments are expensive and although I am academically trained to be an Agricultural Engineer, life took me in a new direction.

I ventured into the world of Crypto art to make extra money.

[Crypto art is digital artwork published directly in blockchain format, making its ownership, transfer, and sale cryptographically secure and verifiable].

I have 24 published works of art and they are beginning to sell.

A growing industry and a solution to cancer

My life has always been in a state of constant change. I was born in Japan, then moved to Buenos Aires. My dad is Argentinian, and my mom is Hungarian. I speak five languages. 

My cancer diagnosis is just another challenge in my life. When my doctor first told me that I had leukemia, my world fell apart. Today, I look at it as a new opportunity.

When I researched the disease, I discovered I had a fighting chance. Yet, after many rounds of treatment, my disease is remains.

Additional treatment options are available but they are costly. That, coupled with the pandemic and quarantine, could have depressed me.

Instead, it prompted me to seek creative ways to move forward and take on these challenges. I focused on creating pieces of Crypto art to sell.

My prior knowledge of 3D printing helped me understand what to do. Photorealistic images are my favorite.

Before I became the artist I am today, I had no artistic sensibility. I often went to museums and cultural events, but I was simply a spectator. I had to change my mindset and my way of thinking and feeling.

As an engineer, art is a huge achievement; I’m surprised people are interested in my work.

The Crypto art industry is very competitive as more and more artists are joining, but more buyers are coming as well.

It is a niche that is growing.

In battling cancer, I found purpose

Three years ago, when my doctor notified me I had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, I underwent chemotherapy treatments for eight months to prepare my body for a bone marrow transplant.

After an arduous search, we discovered my mom was a match. She could save my life, but our happiness did not last. A year after the transplant, I presented symptoms such as anemia, fatigue, paleness, and slowness when thinking or speaking.

Again, I started special treatments to put the the disease in remission and eliminate symptoms. They injected me with medication for 28 days. This was followed by 14 days off.

During this process, I moved to the hospital where I met my new family: the health personnel and other patients. I can receive this treatment five times but then, if I cannot find another bone marrow transplant, I can only receive it one more time.

This is not a treatment that can be sustained. It is too powerful. Today I am finishing the fifth cycle.

I owe a lot to this disease. My fight against cancer forced me to develop personally; it is an opportunity to strengthen myself. 

Cancer has forced me to open myself to a world I did not know existed, and to change my priorities. It led me to a new purpose in life.

Hope, options, and a call to action

My battle with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia is exceptional because I cannot find anyone with compatible bone marrow in the world – not even through the World Marrow Donor Association.

People say hope is the last thing we lose, but I try not to think about that. I have options.

First, the doctors will apply one more cycle of my current treatment. We hope that when we finish, my body will respond and the disease will not return. Second, if my condition returns, we must find a transplant.

If these two things fail, my life will come to an end.

I do not fear death. These years have been full of experiences. I want to live, but I’m not worried either.

What keeps me awake at night is finding a donor. If I do, then all the money I am collecting through my artwork and support will help people struggling with this disease.

I also think it is essential to highlight the importance of donating bone marrow.

We need more and more people take the test to become a donor.

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Natalia Medina is a journalist and producer who works in graphics and radio who is always looking for stories to tell.