My name is Valeria Rodriguez. I am a teacher, mommy, and runner. I have have a life-long goal of reaching the end of my life one day knowing that one life has breathed easier because I have lived. I love reaching out to the community, participating in events to help friends and make an effort to speak, run, and do for those , but today I find myself in a very personal (family) situation. I feel helpless hearing my cousin, Maria Isabel Cabrales, an incredibly strong and loving mother, talk to me from a hospital in Cartagena, as she tells me about how her son just got 3 tumors removed from his back. I can't run him across a finish line, I can't send him a book, and I can't even lend her a shoulder or wrap my arms around them. That's when I thought that maybe "WE" can together.
Her son, Juan Diego, who is now 13, has not had an easy last couple years. 2 years ago doctors detected a tumor on the pineal gland located near the center of the brain. He underwent chemotherapy(3 months) and radiotherapy (2 months) after the surgery and seemed to have been recovering well. As a family we thought it was difficult times but that we had made it through the hard part.
2 months ago, he started having trouble feeling his lower extremities- in other words, he was having difficulty moving his legs. When they took him to the hospital and ran some scans, the doctors quickly detected 3 tumors on his vertebral column at T5, T6, and T7. They quickly operated to surgically remove the tumors and realized that the cancer can regenerated. Though he has been able to recover some movement in his lower extremities, he now has to go through a chemotherapy treatment that is much stronger than what he previously went through 2 years ago for the next 6 months starting (tomorrow)10/3/2016
He is 13 years old, in 7th grade, loves soccer, and lives in Cartagena. 90% of the time he is happy and upbeat, making my cousin and nurses laugh, but he's going through a lot. And chemo will make him weaker. This year, it doesn't look like he will be going back to school because of all the treatments.
My goal with this page to to help my cousin, Juan Diego's mom with: 1) Some funds to cover life expenses that add up in these difficult times. As if this time wasn't enough of a challenge, my cousin (a single mom) also lost her job a week before doctors detected these new tumors. Her fomer job's insurance has been covering these medical costs, for now. 2) When Juan Diego returns home, they are going to have to make some accommodations to make it easier for him to get around. These accomidations will also require funds.
I am so thankful to be surrounded by a community of people who I know will support & share my cousin's campaign. We all know someone who is going through difficult times. I will be visiting her in November and plan to be able share these funds with her before Thanksgiving.