“Since the beginning, she always seemed to be sick,” said Isabel, the mother of seven-year-old Dana.
When Isabel took her daughter to the hospital, the doctor told her that Dana had something wrong with her throat; then her stomach; then something else. Treatment after treatment was prescribed, but nothing seemed to work. Dana was only getting worse. Eventually, Dana didn’t even have enough energy to stand up by herself.
Finally, Dana’s mom took her to the National Pediatric Hospital to ask for another diagnosis, hoping that she would finally figure out what was plaguing her sick young daughter. The diagnosis turned out to be much worse than she imagined: Dana had cancer.
In Mexico, cancer is one of the leading causes of death for children between five and 14 years old. Every year, 5,000 new cases of cancer are recorded. Recovery depends on timely detection and treatment, which means that a child needs access to oncology specialists and an uninterrupted supply of medication and supplements. Unfortunately, about 10% of pediatric cancer patients in Mexico discontinue their treatment, mainly due to the fact that families cannot afford it.
Despite all odds, Dana and Isabel were committed to fight against the disease.
“When the doctors told me that she had cancer, my first thought was cancer equals death,” Isabel said. “But I told Dana, ‘We will defeat cancer!'”
It wasn’t easy; not only was the treatment difficult, but they could barely sleep, eat or rest since treatment was expensive and the hospital was so far away from their house.
Outside of the hours spent at the hospital, they were forced to spend the rest of their daily lives traveling back and forth between the hospital and home.
One day, a social worker told Isabel about Casa de la Amistad, a program run by 2015 Honoree Amalia Garcia Moreno. As soon as they arrived, their lives improved dramatically.
“We received hope. We now are able to have all we need: medicines, nutritional meals, a good bed where my child might rest after chemotherapy,” Isabel said. “Now we can live!”
Now that she can rest, heal and recover in a peaceful environment while she continues her treatment, Dana has had the chance to look ahead and set her sights on a new dream.
“When I grow up, I want to become a doctor to help sick children, like all of the people who are helping me,” Dana said.
Help children like Dana fight cancer and lead long, healthy lives. A one-time donation of $50 provides six days of life-saving medication and treatment that wouldn’t otherwise be accessible. Donate now >>