AP NEWS

Fundraiser brings in $1.2K for childhood cancer research

October 9, 2017 GMT

One year ago, Xavier Hinojosa had just been diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

But as bad as that might sound, Xavier and his family marked National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month during September by celebrating the fact he has been in remission for six months.

At ParedesElementary School, where his mother Veronica is a teacher’s aide and go-to substitute teacher, the staff knows Xavier because he was a student there. Recently, the school counselor, Sylvia Miranda, helped Veronica put together a fundraiser in Xavier’s name, with the proceeds to go directly to pediatric cancer research.

The event raised some $1,200 when more than half the school bought heart-shaped wall decorations at $2 each. The emblems decorate the wall across from the main office.

In addition, T-shirts are being sold in Xavier’s honor that say, “No One Fights Alone.”

“Here we have a walking, talking miracle,” said Principal Melissa Werbiski, herself an 11-year cancer survivor.

“It’s a scary process,” she said of being diagnosed with cancer. “Your faith keeps you strong, and you need to talk about it so others can see.”

Veronica said she became concerned when a lump showed up on Xavier’s neck and he was in pain in September 2016.

“Right away, I took him to Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg. He was there for three days,” she said. A CAT scan showed he had lesions in his lungs, liver and spleen, and a tumor on the bottom of his spine. All this from a child who had never even been sick, she said.

“They sent us home and told us to wait. I couldn’t wait, so we went to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, where he had a bone marrow aspiration.”

Xavier underwent the first round of chemotherapy in Houston and had to have a blood transfusion to make it home. He received the rest of his treatment at the Vannie Cook Children’s Cancer Clinic in McAllen, part of the Texas Children’s Hospital network. In all, he received four rounds of chemotherapy and 15 sessions of radiation.

glong@brownsvilleherald.com

A more complete version of this story is on www.myBrownsvilleHerald.com