Child Of The Month
By Rich Petersen
Brayan Alejandro A.R.
We at Programa pro Niños Incapacitados del Lago just met Brayan a couple of months ago when his mother brought him to us for financial help. Brayan is 15 years old and lives in San Juan Cosalá with his mother, stepfather and two stepbrothers.
Brayan suffers from what is known as a “germ cell tumor,” and unfortunately he has had two of them. Germ cell tumors originate outside the gonads and it is thought they are caused by a genetic error during the development of the embryo. One in 20 of these tumors in the lower abdominal/testicular area will become malignant.
One of these tumors was discovered on Brayan’s left testicle, was operated on and found to be benign. The other is wrapped around part of his intestine and is malignant. This second tumor was discovered last January but because of its location, surgery is very risky, so Brayan was started on chemotherapy. He spent most of last January and February in the hospital while undergoing his chemo treatments. Fortunately the family does have Mexico’s Seguro Popular which is covering the cost of the chemotherapy, but as you may know, this insurance doesn’t cover everything, especially some high-end medications. This was the reason Brayan’s mother sought help from Programa pro Niños Incapacitados del Lago---to ask that we cover what Seguro Popular does not, and also for help with transportation costs to and from Guadalajara.
This past January Brayan was started on a drug called “Interferon.” This drug is a man-made copy of a natural protein we all produce in our bodies to help the immune system fight off disease. It is also believed that Interferon may (emphasis on may) slow down or even stop the growth of cancer cells. The drug has the ability to make cancer cells too weak to protect themselves from the body’s natural immune. To be sure, the insurance does not cover the cost of this drug, so we at Niños Incapacitados are paying for it as well as transportation costs to Guadalajara and back.
Just last week Brayan was begun on radiation therapy and must travel into the city every day to receive it. The doctors are hoping that the combination of chemo and radiation will be beneficial—and so do we.
Because of Brayan’s compromised immune system, he must wear a face mask at all times, especially when in public and at the hospital or clinic where he runs a greater risk of infection from other people’s germs. Niños Incapacitados was able to obtain a supply of high-quality masks that filter out more pathogens than the less expensive ones.
Due to all of the travel for treatment, and subsequent exhaustion from both the treatments and the travel, Brayan can’t attend school. He told us when he visited our January meeting that he loved to read. One of our members has been good enough to acquire and deliver to his house quite a few books, and we are looking for a used laptop computer that he could use at home to further his education. Brayan’s family is very supportive and attentive, and we at Niños Incapacitados certainly wish only the best for him in his fight against this disease.
If you would like to learn more about Niños Incapacitados and what we do—and if you would like to meet one of the children in the Program—please attend our regular monthly meetings the second Thursday of each month at 10:00 a.m. in one of the conference rooms at the Hotel Real de Chapala in La Floresta.