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Ryan was found to suffer from acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common form of childhood cancer, in February 2009.
In November 2008, Valencia was bathing her youngest son, Ryan, when she noticed a pea-sized bump near his groin area. Worry flashed through her mind, but she dismissed thoughts that Ryan could be sick because he was always so full of energy.
But just a few months later, that energy began to wane. Ryan would come home from school extremely tired. He needed a nap before homework and dinner. Along with the new lethargy, Valencia noticed two little knots on the right side of Ryan's neck. The worry from months before returned.
Days later, Ryan had a nosebleed that would not stop. Valencia took her son to the doctor immediately. The pediatrician referred Ryan to an ear, nose and throat specialist, who ran blood tests. The results were devastating. Ryan suffered from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common form of childhood cancer. "I'm an optimistic person," Valencia said. "At that moment, I thought Ryan was going to die. I didn't know there were types of cancer that are curable."
Doctors at the local hospital referred the family to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
After arriving at St. Jude, Ryan began a two-and-a-half year chemotherapy treatment plan. He has responded well to treatment.
"I didn't know anything about childhood cancer before this happened," Valencia said. "Now I know St. Jude is a place of hope. They're saving lives at St. Jude, they're curing kids."
Ryan is an affectionate child who loves his older brother and sister. He participated in homebound school and likes to play the Wii® and video games.
To help give hope to children like Ryan who are fighting life-threatening illnesses, please become a Partner In Hope.