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René Velazco: One of the things that helps me is the desire to live

The former Salserín revealed that he has suffered from cystic fibrosis since he was little

Days ago, the singer René Velazco, known for being part of saucepan in the 90s and by the musical duo René and Renny, he surprised his followers by revealing that he has suffered from cystic fibrosis since he was very young.

The 42-year-old interpreter, who kept his health condition silent, has shared his life testimony. He now tells of his fight against this disease that has served as inspiration accompanied by music that has been the best medicine.

During his childhood he was complicated with the issue of health. Neither his colleagues in the Salserín group, nor its director Manuel Guerra, were aware of the diagnosis. 

“Since I was little, I was not encouraged to think that I would have a time. My parents were always very reluctant to the topic, perhaps taking care of mental health because it is very important for any health condition to be able to deal with it,” said René Velazco in an interview with Últimas noticias.

And he added: “Over the years I became aware that I grew up with that stigma, so to speak, but it was not something that stopped me to think. I did not think on that. I found important things that somehow moved me more and kept me motivated.”

According to the health portal MedlinePlus “Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a hereditary disease. It is caused by a defective gene that causes the body to produce an abnormally thick and sticky fluid called mucus. This mucus accumulates in the airways of the lungs and in the pancreas.”

Photo: courtesy

—How did you handle this issue being so young plus the boom of your artistic career?

—I always mention it: my family has been important with all this. The upbringing I had helped me keep my feet on the ground a bit. In my adolescence, when I was in Salserín when I got upset, my parents told me that if I continued like this they would take me out of there. They were very intelligent and helped me understand that it is like a job, a recognized job that is fueled by people's remuneration and receptivity. For me it became that, a job that I love very much.

—Has it ever affected your lungs?

—Obviously, the lungs are the most affected of my organs. They have always been affected. Those who were close to me may have noticed that I was always coughing, all the time.

People who have cystic fibrous need to cough because we have a lot of mucus in our body and we need to get it out. This is coupled with the issue of nebulization and the entire pulmonary issue. Lungs are delicate for me.

I reached 60% capacity of my lungs. I'm currently at 96% thanks to treatments, especially a recent one that changed the game.

—Now that you are older and more mature, how do you handle cystic fibrosis in terms of attitude and the issue of treatments??

—A little more aware of what I do. I am not a perfect person, nor a role model because I have made many mistakes. This happens to human beings and I have had to learn with the consequences that when I do certain things, my body experiences it twice or three times as much as it does for anyone who does not have cystic fibrosis. I try to be aware because that helps me have a better quality of life.

—Do you remember any episode that you went through when you were in Salserín or in René y Renny?

—People who have cystic fibrosis sweat a lot of electrolytes, which makes us decompensate. In physical activities that had to do with tours, shows, concerts I would get tired and sweat a lot. I had to take salt to compensate myself again.

That happened to me a lot... recently, in March when I did a turns At the Salserín reunion, I had a complex lung condition called pneumonitis, which is very advanced pneumonia that usually occurs in those of us who suffer from the disease. I had to receive vein treatment throughout the tour. I did it and I just said I had pneumonia

—René, with everything we know, it is inevitable to think if at some point you had suicidal thoughts. Did that cross your mind?

—Not really, but maybe when you are a certain age in adolescence, some patients go through a period of reluctance: they don't want the medicines, they throw away the medicines, they don't finish the treatments because you feel as if your parents are forcing you to do something and then you do something. All of that… this was self-sabotage. I have spoken with other patients who suffer from cystic fibrosis, with parents and they all go through that stage.

I think it's the closest thing to an attempt at something. I never thought about taking my own life. I feel rather that one of the things that has helped me on this path is the desire to live that I have.

—Has the support of your family been important?

—My family is my foundation, my everything. I couldn't be more grateful and the older I get, the more I realize the treasure and the fortune I have had to have them, to count on them, to have their support. Thank God the people who have been close to me have always followed the same tone, but my family is everything.

“Music was a cure for me”

—What does it mean for René Velazco to be a singer?

—The profession of being a singer requires good lungs and the issue of doing physical exercises, singing classes, learning to breathe and having physical activities helped me to have a better condition in my lungs. That's why I say that it's not just emotionally, music was a cure for me... the exercises helped me a lot to develop my lung capacity, which is one of the things that complicates things for us patients with cystic fibrosis.

—Do you plan to release a song?

—Yes, new music is coming. I've been producing since I came to Miami. I think in a month we should have new music.

It's ready, but I'm finalizing the details. I love being able to continue making music and with this wave of affection that I have received lately I can only repay it with what I know how to do best, which is music.

—You are loved by a Venezuelan public, what do you think about that?

—It cost me a lot (laughs). Over the years I established a very close relationship also thanks to social networks. I am a superactive person, I respond to everyone who writes to me. Sometimes it takes me a little while, but I respond and I really appreciate that people comment on me or share what they think or what they see in me... even down to their own experiences that have been recurring since I talked about my condition.

Many parents and patients with cystic fibrosis have contacted me and it has been very nice to be able to make that connection with so many people. I'm not an example, but you see someone who, despite their health condition, continues to thrive on life. My message is that no matter what is happening to you, don't give up and mental health is important to achieve your goals.

Your projects…

—This year I will be making music. I am going to activate with all digital platforms. I will report on the projects.

We continue with Salserín's reunion tour, which is something that is pending. A tour with Renny here in the United States is also in discussion. Little by little we will release what is coming.

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