Looking at 4 year-old Itzel’s adorable smile, you would never know her childhood has been filled with early morning trips to chemotherapy and radiation, lung surgery and long hospital stays. But it has.
In December of 2015, Itzel’s parents found a mass in her thigh. After a visit to her pediatrician, and then to the emergency room, Itzel was admitted to the hospital for more testing. Results showed spots in her lungs, too. She was diagnosed with stage IV Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer more often found in older children and teens.
In a heartbeat, everything changed. Holiday planning was overshadowed by planning for radiation therapy and surgery. Arrangements needed to be made for her sisters. They would not be able to attend afterschool care while Itzel was in treatment, for fear of bringing unwanted illness back to her.
For Fabiola, Itzel’s mom, relying on others to care for her children was a hard thing to do. She tries to keep life as normal as possible, but it’s not always easy.
Itzel had daily radiation on the tumor in her leg for six weeks, then surgery, followed by four more weeks of radiation, this time for the spots in her lungs. This meant a lot of hospital time, and a lot of time away from her family.
After radiation concluded, chemotherapy began. For the past eight months, Itzel has been undergoing five days of chemo every 15 days. Fortunately, Fabiola was able to get it scheduled to start at 8:30 am, so they can be back home just in time for Itzel and her twin sister, Emma, to make it to afternoon preschool.
Itzel’s dad, Alejandro, works construction. He is not always fortunate enough to be working close to home. Most of the time he needs to leave for work before the sun comes up and cannot help in the morning.
“I always took care of my girls. When Itzel was sick and in the hospital, I couldn’t take care of them the way I normally do. I had to rely on my mom and my best friend to take care of them. This has been hard for everybody,” she said.
Itzel’s cancer has also put a strain on the family’s finances. Of all the things a parent might budget for, cancer treatment is not one of them. Financing treatment is one thing, but it is finding the money to pay for gas and parking on a daily basis that can be a challenge.
And that is where Compass to Care comes in.
“I’m very thankful for Compass to Care. For us, it’s a very, very big help. Gas and parking – whew. We have a hard time paying bills and this helps us a lot. Please support Compass to Care, because families like us can really use the help,” said Fabiola.
The road to recovery is long and challenging. Your support of Compass to Care is helping to make it accessible.
OUR YEAR-END GOAL IS TO RAISE $30,000 by 11:59 pm on DECEMBER 31st! WE ARE ON OUR WAY THERE, BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Please consider making a year-end donation to Compass to Care! Your gift will help kids, like Itzel, travel to cancer treatment.