When Tamara developed hip pain, doctors in her native country of Bolivia thought it was due to arthritis. But then her hip swelled and she started limping. Tamara’s parents, Julio and Cecilia, were worried. Julio is a pediatrician.
“When she started limping, I didn’t want to think anything of it. I was looking at it from the perspective of a father,” he said. But deep down, Julio suspected the cause of Tamara’s pain was cancer.
Tamara with her father, Julio.
An MRI revealed a tumor, and a biopsy confirmed Julio’s fears: the tumor was a Ewing sarcoma, a type of cancer that grows in the bones or in the tissue around bones. Tamara’s family turned to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where her treatment includes chemotherapy and physical therapy.
Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since it opened more than 50 years ago. Tamara is responding well to treatment. She likes to draw and make arts and crafts. When Tamara grows up, she wants to be a dentist.