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Inspirational Stories


acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)

My story begins in 1972 as a young, two-year-old child in a third-world country in Central America known as El Salvador. As a child, I recall the sunny days running around while being surrounded by a loving family. Nine months later, this would change as I began to feel weak and struggled to walk the streets in my neighborhood. As my condition became worse, my grandmother took me to the public hospital where I was seen by the oncologist who diagnosed me with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). While it was a positive experience to know what was happening to my little body, reality set in when the oncologist said, "Our clinic cannot treat her diagnosis here because our medicine is not as advanced as it is in the United States." My grandmother was devastated, but since she knew my parents were already visiting the United States, she took charge and informed my parents of my diagnosis. My parents were able to locate resources at Stanford's Children's Hospital, formerly located in Palo Alto, where I was admitted for treatment.

Once the Stanford Children's Hospital agreed to treat me, I was treated by a great doctor, Jordan Wilbur, and his team who were using medicines that were at that time in clinical trials. The team of doctors, nurses, and social workers took the best care to save me from a disease that in the 1970s did not have a good prognosis. After five years of chemotherapy, cranial radiation, and follow-up visits to the hospital in 1978, I reached remission. One of my greatest achievements was completing and graduating with a Master's in Public Health (MPH) degree in 1999. Today I enjoy my work as a substitute teacher, as well volunteering for agencies that promote the health of individuals.

acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)