BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A Brownsville middle school teacher is fighting for his life, as he was recently diagnosed with brain cancer for the second time, putting him on an extended sick leave.
Manzano Middle School teacher, Rudy Aguirre was first diagnosed with brain cancer in 2017. After a 17 hour craniotomy to remove about a fourth of his brain and 30 rounds of chemotherapy, he beat the disease.
However, in January of 2022, Aguirre began having episodes of numbness and tingling to the left side of his face and fingers on his left hand.
“We went back in February and that’s when it was confirmed. His biopsy was done four weeks later in March and the biopsy confirmed it was a Grade Four Gliobastoma,” said his wife and fellow Manzano Middle teacher, Jennifer Aguirre who began to tear up at the memory.
The Aguirres were shocked to hear Rudy’s brain cancer had come back, and this time doctors deemed it more aggressive.
“It really took us back and plucked us out of the world,” said Rudy.
With a challenging year ahead of the Aguirres, it left the two wondering what would become of their income as it only comes from teaching.
Manzano Middle School teachers are allotted 10 paid sick days, but Rudy and Jennifer are in need of six weeks worth of paid leave.
The Aguirres told ValleyCentral they were worried about their income. “That’s your livelihood and you expect to never be plucked out of your livelihood. It’s kind of unfortunate.”
Once fellow Manzano teachers caught wind of the Aguirres situation, several of them started donating their paid sick leave.
“I was thinking if I have days available, I can help Rudy through this and Jen, so I know by donating days it was gonna help them be a little bit relieved, so I went ahead and did that because again, it can happen to any of us,” said eighth-grade teacher Laura Martinez who donated a “few” of her days.
According to the Aguirres, extended sick leave without pay doesn’t exist, so they’re having to rely on donations from their fellow teachers.
They said they’re not sure how many sick days have been donated to them as they’re waiting for a call from HR for an exact number, but they’ve had several teachers reach out to say, “You’ve got sick days coming your way.”
The Aguirres will head to Houston where Rudy will begin his battle with Astrocytoma Grade Four where he’ll begin 12 five-week sessions of chemotherapy.
The family is asking for help through not only endless prayers but through their GoFundMe.
The GoFundMe was set up by one of their daughters in an effort to provide financial stability to the family in case Rudy doesn’t make it through his treatment. The monetary goal is $50,000.
If you’re interested in donating, click here. If you’re unable to donate, the family asks that “you share our story for prayer because the power of prayer is so powerful.”
As for the Aguirres’ students and fellow teachers, they want them to know how grateful they are for all the support and love. Rudy is hopeful he’ll be back at the start of the 2022-2023 school year teaching again.
Martinez said Manzano Middle School is currently hosting fundraisers to help collect more money for the Aguirres. A “run” will also be held soon in support of them.