Grupo Intocable performing in Memphis in 2016

A memorable night with Grupo Intocable

St. Jude Patient Juan received the birthday present of a lifetime on the evening of his 15th birthday, when he and his mother were visited by Grammy® Award-winners Grupo Intocable.

¡También hablamos español!
 

Normally, Juan doesn’t like a lot of attention. But on the evening of his 15th birthday, there was a broad grin on his face when he got a surprise serenade by Grammy® Award-winners Grupo Intocable, as well as a birthday card signed by all of the members, moments before they took the stage in front of 4,000 adoring fans.

The sold-out concert was a benefit for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and raised $160,000 in one night. It was the largest crowd for a Latin American concert at the Cowboys Dancehall in San Antonio, and the first Latin American concert event where 100% of the proceeds benefited St. Jude.

 
Juan, su hermano Javier, y Amelia con Grupo Intocable
 

Juan (fourth from right), his brother, Javier, and his mom, Amelia with Grupo Intocable just before their benefit concert for St. Jude. The concert was on Juan’s birthday.

 

Juan’s mom, Amelia, has been a fan of Intocable since she was 15 herself. When the band visits her hometown, she and her sisters never miss a concert. Their signature blend of Tejano and Norteño music is often playing in her car, and she and Juan sing along to the words.

“It was very special for me and for my children,” she said of the experience. “We’re super grateful that they gave us the opportunity to be there and to make that day so special for Juan.”

 

Juan with his mom in 2012, the year after he became a St. Jude patient.

At his young age, Juan has lived through a lot. In July 2012, he fell suddenly ill, and his family was devastated when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor at a local hospital in Arizona. Because Amelia didn’t have health insurance, she was worried that she wouldn’t be able to get him the treatment he needed. Amelia’s sister urged her to look into St. Jude, where no family ever receives a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food —  because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

“Without St. Jude, I don’t think Juan would have gotten the treatment he needed,” Amelia said. “We didn’t worry about anything while we were here. Our doctors and nurses were amazing. Everyone was so supportive.”

These days, Juan lives back in Arizona and visits St. Jude every three weeks as part of his ongoing care. But when he returned to the hospital in July 2017, he needed surgery, and there were complications. The family stayed until December.

Amelia’s sisters had gotten the family tickets to the Intocable concert in Phoenix in October, and they had to miss it. Coincidentally, the band planned their benefit concert in San Antonio on Juan’s birthday, and by then, Juan was feeling well enough to travel. A staff member at ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, arranged for the family to be there.

 

Grupo Intocable performing at a concert benefiting St. Jude in 2016

The benefit concert was part of a five-year pledge by Intocable to do everything they can to raise money for the lifesaving mission of St. Jude.

While they were on stage, they didn’t forget to send a special birthday shout-out to Juan.

Without St. Jude, I don’t think Juan would have gotten the treatment he needed. We didn’t worry about anything while we were here. Our doctors and nurses were amazing. Everyone was so supportive.

Amelia, mom of St. Jude patient Juan

Grupo Intocable with patient Yamila during their latest visit to St. Jude.

Grupo Intocable with patient Yamila during their latest visit to St. Jude.

“I liked them already, but now I like them even more,” said Amelia. “The fact that they’re doing this for families like mine, everything they’re doing and all the money they’ve raised, is very special.”

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