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.
“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.”