Miguel, or “Mikey,” as his mom calls him, was a reserved little boy when he first arrived at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. But now, with the encouraging way staff members have cared for him, he has blossomed into a trusting, outgoing toddler, stealing hearts at every turn.
When Mikey was a baby, photos showed a glare in his eyes. When he was 5 months old, doctors in Mexico found the cause – he had bilateral retinoblastoma, cancerous tumors in both of his eyes.
His family discovered St. Jude online and obtained a referral. His mom, Liliana, didn’t know much about St. Jude before their arrival, but the leap of faith paid off.
In Mexico, the treatment would have been to remove both of Mikey’s eyes; at St. Jude, his doctors were able to give his family hope for his vision.
Liliana was worried about how to pay for everything since she would be away from work during Mikey’s lengthy treatment. But, to her relief, she learned families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food, because all they should worry about is helping their child live.
St. Jude doctors fought to save both of Mikey’s eyes as well as his health, with a combination of chemotherapy, laser treatment and cryotherapy. He also received physical, occupational and speech therapies to help him meet his milestones.
Ultimately, however, it was necessary to remove one of Mikey’s eyes to save his life. But vision in his remaining eye, which was also affected by tumors, is now normal.
Soon, he will be able to return home. St. Jude will continue to see Mikey for checkups.
To those who support St. Jude, Liliana says, “I don’t know what we would have done without St. Jude and the support of people like you.”
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