Carson family seeks help for 2-year-old boy diagnosed with leukemia
November 27, 2009
A Carson City family is reeling just days after their 2-year-old son and nephew was diagnosed with leukemia.
Stacy Contreras said that in late September her sister-in-law Sandra Contreras noticed a lump on her son Christian’s upper chest.
“We took him immediately into the doctor,” said Stacy.
They initially suspected the toddler was suffering from an infected lymph node, she said.
Doctors ordered a two-week cycle of antibiotics to try to clear up the infection. In case it didn’t clear up, they scheduled surgery for Dec. 2, said Stacy.
But on Nov. 18, the lump had grown and instead of being the active boy they once new, Christian was weak and lethargic.
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“I called the surgeon and said we can’t wait that long,” said Stacy. “The thing was growing very large. It looked like a ball under his skin and it just kept growing.”
The family rushed Christian again to the emergency room, and on Nov. 20, Christian underwent surgery to have the lump removed.
Stacy said the biopsy on the mass wouldn’t be completed for two weeks, so they sent the little boy home with his family.
Then the following morning his nose began to bleed uncontrollably.
They rushed him to the hospital.
Stacy said after blood work was done the family learned the news – Christian was suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a fast-growing cancer of the white blood cells that commonly affects children between the ages of 2 and 6.
At about 3:30 p.m. Saturday, he and his aunt were on a plane to Oakland Children’s Hospital while his mother and two uncles borrowed an old van to drive the six hours to the northern California city.
For two nights Sandra, Stacy and her husband, Marcello, slept on chairs in Christian’s hospital room while Christian’s other uncle slept in the van on the street.
Come Monday, Stacy and Marcello had to return to Carson to care for their own children, so they left all the money they had for Sandra – a single-mother and restaurant worker here – $100.
On Tuesday, Christian underwent his first round of chemotherapy. Stacy said he became very ill afterward and doctors anticipate he’ll be there from three weeks to six months, well past his 3rd birthday on Dec. 16.
There is no more money, said Stacy, who was laid off Nov. 13 after undergoing a hysterectomy.
And Marcello lost his job in construction in September and has been unable to find work since.
Stacy said the family is desperate for help.
“It’s not Christian’s fault. He’s a baby,” Stacy said Wednesday. “He doesn’t understand what’s going on. We don’t know what we are going to do.”
To help the Contreras family, a fund has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank account number 6708019069, titled “Donations for Christian Contreras.”