In March of 2015, my brother Raúl was diagnosed with Klatskin tumor, a very uncommon type of cancer and extremely rare for patients in their 40’s. It was inoperable and incurable.
I was then working and living in Los Angeles, CA and decided to come back to Spain and be close to my brother for whatever time left he had. I quit my job, sold almost everything I owned, and took a flight back to Madrid.
I am sure that most of you have been touched by cancer one way or another. I have learned that cancer doesn’t leave any family untouched, so you probably know what it looks like. Raúl‘s cancer started to set our schedules, our routines, and our plans. Patients and caregivers.
I knew I wanted to be there 24/7. I didn’t want to have a job schedule. I wanted to be able to pick up my car keys at any moment and drive my mom to or from hospital, or go and pick up my niece and nephew from school and watch them until my sister-in-law came back home.
So, I thought I might start selling my own puzzle collection, some of them extremely rare, in order to make some income. It was not a difficult decision. Cancer gives a lot of perspective. Then, I realized that I could actually be able to pay my bills and work from home finding and selling rare puzzles, and I started the website at the end of 2015. It worked better than I had anticipated.
I was able to be very close to Raúl during his last year of life. I spent a lot of time with him, helping him with arrangements that he knew he had to do, assisting him in the completion of a book about motorcycles that he had written, and enjoying every single minute of the time with him, knowing very well that the days were counted.
Rare Puzzles was started only for that purpose, and it served the purpose well.
That is why I am so grateful to every single person that has bought a puzzle from me. They thought they were buying a puzzle, when in fact they were buying me time. Priceless time.
And that is why now that the website will open to other sellers, 100% of commissions charged for selling the puzzles on the website will be donated to the American Cancer Society and the Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer. The only amount that will not be donated will be whatever is necessary to run the site, like web hosting, domain renewal, software improvements, etc.
That is also why I want Rare Puzzles to have an ethical dimension that goes beyond a simple selling website. Please, consider this before listing one of your puzzles on the site.
Life goes on, and I look forward to retaking some of the plans I had before cancer touched my life taking my brother’s.
Raúl passed away on May 26, 2016. He was a good and noble man.
I recently received a beautiful card beautifully written from a friend and former customer, with an indeed beautiful photograph titled Florence under the Snow, Paris, 1950, by French photographer Édouard Boubat.
It was a nice and elegant touch that I truly appreciated.
Among the smart things that my friend wrote, there was a small footnote: “Life is too short to count pieces of used puzzles”.