HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — “I never thought that one of my kids would go through this,” said Joel Herevia, father of 3-year-old Gael Herevia who is fighting cancer.
Gael is fighting Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and it was shocking news to his father, but said he can relate to his son.
“I am a survivor of childhood cancer too,” said Herevia. “I was diagnosed with a Wilms tumor.”
To survive, Joel had to get one kidney removed at the age of 1.
Although Joel said his son’s cancer and his cancer are totally unrelated, a study from the American Association for Cancer Research said Hispanics are diagnosed significantly younger with blood cancers than non-Hispanic white individuals.
Specifically, on the U.S.-Mexico border, cancers of the blood or more likely to be fatal, but Gael’s doctors said his future is promising.
“When he got diagnosed the doctor told me it’s a 98% chance he’s going to live and that made me happy,” said Herevia.
Joel said over 20 years ago he had to travel to San Antonio to get treatment because the Rio Grande Valley did not have enough resources back then.
Now Herevia said he is much happier with the medical services provided today.
“These past two weeks he got four chemotherapies a week, so I can imagine without the clinics here it would be a lot of struggle,” said Herevia.
Joel said it is due to the Vannie E. Cook Jr. Cancer Foundation, his family, and his faith for all the support during this challenging time.
“It’s difficult but thanks to God he’s given us the strength to help him,” said Herevia.