A conversation about life and death: an interview with Isabel Gemio

When I published the Spanish edition of my book “Aprender a morir para poder vivir" (Grijalbo 2021), I had the opportunity to participate in several interviews. However, one in particular stood out for its depth and emotionality: the interview that Isabel Gemio gave me via videoconference.

Isabel Gemio, a well-known Spanish television presenter, has become very popular thanks to programs such as “¡Sorpresa sorpresa!”, on Antena 3. This program is a Spanish version of the Italian or British TV Show “Surprise, Surprise”, focused on making the dreams of anonymous people come true live, has marked an era in Spanish television. His link with the program and his outstanding career are known to many.

Connecting Experiences: Isabel Gemio and Duchenne Foundation

Our connection, however, goes beyond television and the interview. Isabel and I share a common experience: Duchenne. One of her sons also suffers from this muscular dystrophy, a reality that she made public a few years ago. Since then, Isabel has founded a foundation dedicated to raise funds for the research of minority diseases such as the one affecting her son.

FUNDACIÓN ISABEL GEMIO is a foundation for the Research of Muscular Dystrophies and other Rare Diseases, was born in 2008. Its aim is to contribute to accelerate research in Muscular Dystrophies, other Neuromuscular Diseases and Rare Diseases, in biological, physio pathological, genetic or therapeutic aspects. This research may have an impact on the development and application of curative treatments for those impacted.

Interview for YouTube channel

It was an honor for me to dedicate a copy of my book to him, and even more so when he decided to contact me to propose an interview for his YouTube channel, where he presents other relevant conversations. During our meeting, we addressed deep topics such as life and the euthanasia debate, sharing different perspectives and reflections.

For Isabel, the interview was emotional, as it meant connecting with someone who shares the same reality as her son. Through this platform, we were able to share experiences, reflections and, above all, hope.

I sincerely thank Isabel Gemio for giving me this opportunity for a deep and sincere dialogue. It is an honor to be able to share with you the result of this conversation, which I invite you to watch in the following video.


Life gives us opportunities to meet and connect with people who share our struggles and hopes. Through this interview, we have been able to explore this connection and bring a sincere and enriching look at life and its fragility. May this conversation be an inspiration to all those who seek to understand, share and, above all, live each moment to the fullest.

Translating Experiences: From Catalan to English

A few months ago, the English edition of my book titled 'Learning to Die in Order to Live: Little Things that Make Life Wonderful' was finally published on Amazon. (See in what Amazon Stores you can find it on About my book Page)

This project began to take shape shortly after the Spanish edition, as the next step due to its positive reception and the way it was helping so many people with different problems and situations. I wanted it to reach individuals from all over the world, and what better way than to publish the book in English, a nearly universal language!

The process took 2 years.

Challenges and Decisions

Concerning the translation, it was important to me that someone who knew me, understood the original meaning of what I was conveying. And preferably someone who grasped the original language, Catalan, be the one to handle it. Since I had a brother living in Hong Kong (where English is widely used), I asked him to undertake the translation. Simultaneously, he thought it would be better if a friend of his, a British man who had spent time in Catalonia and knew Catalan, did the translation. Then, my brother would review it to ensure it maintained the same essence as the original. And so it was, it turned out very well, and he even added notes and context to help English speakers who might not be familiar with certain expressions or aspects related to Catalonia.

Once translated, I needed to manage the transfer of copyright for the English translation and find an interested publisher. I began the search by speaking with contacts and exploring options online. Soon after, a friend of my brother from Pamplona, who had spent some time here, contacted me. He mentioned that he had really enjoyed my book and that it had helped him in a difficult situation. This friend is a priest who has lived in Kenya for many years. He encouraged me to publish in English to reach people in that country. He also connected me with a publisher in Kenya for a potential publication in Africa. While that would have been great, time passed, and unfortunately, it didn't come to fruition.

In the end, I realized that finding a publisher interested in the English edition was more complex than I had thought, so I decided to take the initiative and self-publish the translation.

The Publication Process

I discovered that I could do this through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing platform, following a few simple steps once I had the manuscript and cover in the required format. To proceed, I needed to obtain copyright permission. I received support, as always, from my Catalan editor throughout the process.

It took me several months to finalize the edition, as I had to adapt the initial version to the appropriate format to match the size and layout of the text with editions in other languages. My sister, a graphic designer, collaborated on the design, and the son of my Catalan editor, a photography student, contributed with the image. Thanks to their assistance, the result is excellent.

To ensure there were no grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, or misinterpretations, I had my Canadian brother-in-law review the final manuscript, along with his mother. Once the necessary corrections were made, I uploaded the manuscript in PDF and ePub formats to Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing application. After providing all the required information, I published the book. Within about three days, it was available in both print and electronic formats. Then, I began promoting it among English-speaking friends and contacts, as well as those who knew people who spoke English.

During these initial months, the English edition has sold around 100 copies internationally, reaching Australia, Canada, and the United States. I want to express special gratitude to all who have supported me and contributed to this project.

Experience exchange

In summary, the translation process has been quite intense, but ultimately, the goal of publication has been achieved. I hope that by sharing my experience in this way, I can help many more people in various situations, as has been the case with the other editions. The exchange of experiences enriches both the author and the reader. Ultimately, every human being needs to connect with others to learn and provide mutual support in the process of overcoming life's challenges and obstacles, ultimately finding a horizon.

"My God, one more day of lucidity, not just one more day of life”(1/2)

"My God, one more day of lucidity, not just one more day of life", my paternal grandfather, Joan Argemí Fontanet, often said in family gatherings. He also said it in the sense that studying is a key tool to have a horizon and not lose understanding. This has made me reflect on how the curiosity to learn new things can have a positive impact on life. My grandfather placed great importance on education, which led him to become a great pediatrician and get involved in numerous initiatives in the city of Sabadell.

Despite the difficulties I have had to overcome to study and become a professional, I am convinced that education is a key tool for success. However, it is not always easy to keep up with the pace of the educational system and face the challenges that daily life with a disability entails.

But in the end, the most important thing is not to follow the exact rhythm set by the educational system, but to maintain curiosity for learning and keep fighting to achieve our goals. Life is a constant process of learning, and I am grateful for every opportunity I have had to grow as a person and professional. I hope to share my experience with studies through this series of interviews that both my school and the university where I studied have conducted. The interview that you can read below was conducted by La Farga, the school where I spent my entire school stage. It is located in Mirasol (Sant Cugat del Vallès). You can find my book on Amazon.

La Farga Interview


Interview with Xavi Argemí, La Farga Alumni

He suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy and has just published the book "Learning to Die in Order to Live."

Xavi Argemí is a former student of La Farga. For years, he has been suffering from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which causes him to lose strength in his entire body. He has just published the book "Learning to Die in Order to Live," where he tells his story. Xavi has agreed to give an interview to La Farga, which we offer you below.

You were a student at La Farga for several years, tell us the best memory you have from that time.

From that time, I have many memories, and especially it has given me most of the friends I have, which is one of the pillars I talk about in the book I recently wrote.

How do you think the school and your teachers helped you during your time as a student at La Farga?

They made me feel like one of them and did what was necessary for me to have a good education, access activities adapted to my physical situation in different school stages, and acquire the values I have.

When you graduated, what did you take from the school (values, lessons, something you learned) that helped you in the following years?

Values such as effort, perseverance, and companionship, and in general, good academic and human education.

Many students have a special memory of a particular teacher who left a mark on their student life. In your case, who do you think had an impact on your life and why?

I could mention several, but to give an example, in the last stage of high school, Mr. Josep Solé was very important to me. He was my last tutor and was always there for what I needed to cope with the hectic pace of the second year of high school, given my difficulties. In a short time, I had to prepare for the university entrance exams.

From your personal experience and point of view, what do you think makes La Farga different from any other school? What characteristics do you think or see as distinctive?

Especially the personalized treatment with each student according to their needs through tutoring or spiritual support. Also, the important Christian values that it teaches.

Putting your story into writing, your testimony, surely has not been easy. How did the idea of writing this book come about, what motivated you to do it?

You can find my story in the book "Learning to Die in Order to Live." I decided to write the book because I saw that it could help people with similar circumstances to mine have a positive and hopeful outlook on life.

You must have received many different reactions to the book, to your story. In general, what do people tell you? What is their feedback?

People tell me that the book has helped them a lot with any problem or circumstance they have, whether their own or someone close to them. The truth is that in their messages, they not only say that they liked it, but they also tell me about their situation and details of the book that they wanted to highlight. I didn't imagine that my book would have such an impact.

Your Duchenne disease has demanded great dedication from your family and educational environment in day-to-day details; it has also been a growth for them. How do you stay united in this when we encounter big or small problems, which we all have or will have?

Be grateful and appreciate all the good things we have. Also, focus more on others, thinking about what we can contribute to them. Thanks to God, we live in an area with many resources.

Xavi, in moments of discouragement or concern, what or who inspires you?

As I mentioned before and in the book, in the positive aspect of life, and for me personally, it's the faith I have and the support of family and friends.

You must have noticed that your good humor, full of frankness and optimism, is contagious and very motivating for your friends, acquaintances, teachers... Tell us a recent anecdote or one from when you were a child.

I have a friend who remembers that when I was hospitalized, he came with a few others to the ICU, and some family members took care of them. They were interested in my health condition, and someone mentioned that I was worried about university assignments. It impacted them and made them laugh a lot because they thought I would be more concerned about my health, which I was naturally. But it was a funny situation within the seriousness of the situation.

Tell us a dream that you encourage young people today to have.

I encourage them not to give up on what they set out to do and that despite the difficulties, we can achieve many things, and we must have hope.

If you had to give advice to the Xavi from a few years ago, what would you say to him? And what would you say to boys and girls who are in a similar situation to yours?

For example, I would tell them to differentiate well between problems and circumstances: circumstances are what you cannot change, and therefore, you have to accept them, and problems are what you can try to modify by seeking a solution.