Child of the month
By Rich Petersen
Juan Raúl García Jasso
This young man with the ‘kind of funny” smile is Juan Raúl García Jasso.Juan Raúl is an only child and lives with his parents, Irene, a housewife and Raúl, a mason, in Ajijic. In June he will be eight years old. He’s smart as a whip and can tell you most anything about his disease…and a lot of other things.
In May of last year he and his parents noted a small bump—which seemed to be getting a bit larger--on his right eyelid. At first the doctors thought this was a simple conjunctivitis and treated it accordingly with antibiotic cream.
While at the hospital for his first doctor’s visit, the ophthalmologist suggested they rule/out an acute lymphocytic leukemia (A.L.L.). While not a type of leukemia, it was a cancer known as (are you ready?) – Rhabdomyosarcoma, or RMS. This is a cancerous tumor that develops in the body’s soft tissues, usually the muscles. It’s the most common type of soft tissue cancer in children, affecting boys more than girls, usually between the ages of 2 and 6....but then jumps to ages 15 through 19. Juan Raúl, at age eight, falls in the middle.
Fortunately, RMS usually responds well to treatment, especially the type of RMS that Juan Raúl has. His is “embryonal” and develops mostly in the head and neck area or the urinary tract. The other type is “alveolar” and affects those in the older group, in the arms, legs, chest and abdomen and is much more difficult to treat.
In January of this year Juan Raúl and his mother came to Niños Incapacitados for some help with his treatment costs. Luckily the family has Mexico’s “Seguro Popular,” which is sort of a secondary insurance if one doesn’t have IMSS. Seguro Popular is paying for Juan Raúl’s chemotherapy every three weeks, but it does not cover his anti-nausea meds or his special eye-drops. And of course, it doesn’t cover the bus trips into Guadalajara and back.
This is one area where we at Niños Incapacitados are pleased to be able to help; the family doesn’t have to worry or wonder where the money is coming from for these on-going expenses for their son’s continued well-being.
Guess what? The last time Juan Raúl and his family came to see us, he grinned as only he can, and told us that the tumor was “gone.” “No lo tengo.” HURRAH! Of course his blood levels will continue to be monitored to be sure the tumor is really gone. He’s a happy kid and so is his family.
Niños Incapacitados is “off” for the summer with regard to monthly meetings, but we don’t let the summer interfere with our help to the families in the program. We will begin meeting again in September. Please join us then and meet another of the children we are helping. Visit our website: www.programaninos.org for more information and other stories about “our” children.