Honoree Spotlight

Amistad Means Friendship for Pediatric Cancer Patients in Mexico

“Winning this award symbolizes a world of hope, one where we can offer more children the opportunity to live.” – Amalia García Moreno, 2015 World of Children Health Award Honoree

Seven-year-old Carlitos is originally from Oaxaca, one of the poorest states in Mexico. When he was just 2 years old, he and his family received terrifying news – Carlitos was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

young boy with cancer
7-year-old Carlitos

Fortunately, Carlitos was able to travel to Mexico City to receive treatment at a children’s hospital there. The travel and hospital stays were hard on his family, emotionally and financially. That’s why Casa de la Amistad para Niños con Cáncer meant so much to them.

Carlitos is one of 650 to 700 children with cancer that Casa de la Amistad helps annually and one of over 3,800 children diagnosed with cancer each year. The pediatric cancer survival rates in Mexico are tragically low (differing estimates put it at 40% or 30-50%), due largely to late diagnosis, inaccessibility of treatment, children dropping out of treatments, and lack of proper care during treatment. These issues have a greater effect on the over half of patients estimated to come from underprivileged families like Carlitos.

Casa de la Amistad, founded over 25 years ago by Amalia García Moreno, World of Children’s 2015 Health Award Honoree, provides a safe place for these underprivileged children and their families while they are receiving treatment. In addition to a place to stay, Casa de la Amistad provides transportation, food, classes, and psychological and emotional support.

Education Center at casa de la amistad
The “School Room” at Casa de la Amistad

Carlitos likes to play football and recite poetry and takes great pride in his appearance. He has been able to keep up with his studies through lessons at Casa de la Amistad and says the “school room” is his favorite room in the entire center. He dreams of being a doctor when he grows up, so that he can help cure other children, like his doctors have been working to cure him.

Carlitos and the other children at Casa de la Amistad are the lucky ones. Casa de la Amistad estimates they are currently only able to reach about 27% of the children and families that could benefit from their programs. Recognizing this great unmet need, they are continuing to explore opportunities to grow and reach ever more children. We are thrilled that Amalia’s World of Children will help them accomplish this goal.

To learn more about Amalia and Casa de la Amistad visit: worldofchildren.org/amalia

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