Nothing can stop Gabby
In 1996, when Gabby was 7 years old, doctors in her home country of Bolivia discovered a tumor growing on her spine, identified as Ewing sarcoma. Gabby’s family, desperate to get her the best treatment available, traveled to New York seeking to save her life. But in New York, they were told the hospital couldn’t do anything without a $250,000 deposit.
Marlo Thomas read about Gabby’s plight in a newspaper article. She contacted Gabby’s family and told them not only would St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital treat their daughter, they would never receive a bill.
Unlike any other hospital, the majority of funding for St. Jude comes from individual contributions. Thanks to generous donors, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
When Gabby arrived at St. Jude, she was unable to walk due to the tumor pressing on her spine. Her treatment included chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Gradually, Gabby regained movement in her legs, but some of the nerve damage from the tumor was irreversible. Physical therapy was difficult and painful, but Gabby wouldn’t quit. She wanted to walk again, and through hard work and determination, she did.
Despite everything she’s been through, Gabby has persevered. She graduated from college with a degree in biochemistry. Today, Gabby is working towards a PhD in Pharmacology at a local university. And her research brings her back to St. Jude
She’s grateful for everything St. Jude has done for her, and she loves being able to give back. “I feel like I have been through so much that I can help others,” she said.