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It was almost midnight when Jenny saw another Hispanic mother arriving at the hospital with her child. Jenny had been at St. Jude for nine months getting treatment for her son, Dionisio, and she remembered how she felt the first time she arrived. She wanted to talk to the woman, but Jenny thought it would be better to give her some time.
The next day, Jenny found that same mother weeping in the hospital hallway, and this time, she went to her. "Something told me I should give you a hug, because we're going through the same thing," she said in Spanish.
The other mother responded, "You don’t know what this means to me, because I don’t have anybody here. We’re from Ecuador." The two mothers exchanged numbers and decided they would be there for each other as long as they could.
Being the mother of a child with cancer changes one's perspective.
Dionisio was only one and a half years old when he was found to have leukemia. He was immediately referred to St. Jude. Since then, the family has been grateful for the cutting-edge treatment, support and personal touch they have received from the staff. They can't believe they have never received a bill from St. Jude, and never will.
The experience has had a profound effect on Jenny and the whole family.
"Before this experience, I lived my life as if I had all the time in the world. Not anymore," says Jenny. "I make an effort to talk to my mom, and I tell her that I love her, I try to do things for her. [I try] to be closer to my family and not worry so much about the material things."
Much to the family's joy, Dionisio is now cancer-free. He only has to return to St. Jude periodically to ensure that the cancer doesn't come back.
Jenny says, "I give thanks to God that he put us in this place, because now I do appreciate life."