Lucas, age 4, neuroblastoma

A change in course

When Lucas' family planned their trip to the United States from Chile, they never dreamed it would include a hospital stay for Lucas to begin cancer treatment. Just days before the start of their family vacation, Lucas began having stomach pains. Tests revealed cancer. Their first stop in the U.S. — St. Jude.

In September 2016, 4-year-old Lucas and his family were getting ready to travel to the United States from Chile for their family vacation. With their passports in hand, the family was just weeks away from traveling when Lucas began having pains in his stomach. Initially, doctors in Chile diagnosed Lucas with an infection and sent him home. But a few days later, the pain returned, and this time doctors suspected a mass. Within days, scans revealed Lucas suffered from neuroblastoma.   

Doctors immediately referred Lucas to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for his continuing treatment and care. “All of the doctors in Chile agreed that St. Jude was the best place for Lucas,” said his dad, Carlos. “The work being done at St. Jude is years ahead of anything being done in Chile.” At St. Jude, Lucas’ treatment includes chemotherapy and surgery to remove the tumor.

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Lucas with his family

Even as he continues to undergo treatment, Lucas has remained positive and upbeat. “He’s a really happy and outgoing boy,” said his mother, Daniela. “The staff at St. Jude has done a great job making everything easier for him and helping him feel comfortable.”

Lucas is an avid soccer fan and likes to cheer for his favorite soccer club in Chile. “He likes all things soccer,” said Carlos. Recently, he was joined at St. Jude by his older sister, Sofia, who arrived after completing the school year in Chile. “When Sofia arrived, Lucas was really happy,” said Daniela. “They’re inseparable.”

Lucas is responding well to treatment and the family is thankful for the care and support they’ve received. “All of the doctors and nurses at St. Jude have been phenomenal and continue to be with us every step of the way,” said Carlos. “We’ve never seen anything like this."

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