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					Vol. 4, No. 1                                                                                                     Summer 2005

Guerra Family Helps with
New Chemotherapy Unit

T
        he Guerra family knows first            Because of their
        hand the hardships of having a    experiences, the
        child in the family with can-     Guerras have given a
cer. In 1994, when Zacarias Guerra        gift of $100,000 to the
was just 3 years old, he was diag-        Vannie E. Cook Jr.
nosed with leukemia. For several          Children’s Cancer and
years, Zack and his parents, Gerry        Hematology Clinic.
and Ann, had to make many trips to             “We are so glad
San Antonio for his care and treat-       that now local children
ment. At that time, there was not a       with cancer can stay at
local children’s cancer treatment         home and be close to
facility in the Valley.                   their family and friends Seated: Mr. and Mrs. Rafael A. and Carmen Guerra; Middle: Mrs.
     “Having a facility back then, like   where they need to be.        Carmen Elvia Yzaguirre; Back: Carlos X. Guerra, Geraldo L.
the Vannie Cook Clinic, would have        Fighting cancer is tough Guerra, A.R. “Felo” Guerra and Hector M. Guerra
definitely helped us during those very     enough, staying close to
difficult years. A pediatric facility      home makes it a little bit                    service that was started by Rafael A.
really does make a big difference in      easier, if that is possible,” he said.        and Carmen Guerra and continues with
the quality of care for the afflicted           A pioneer ranching family, the           their five children and many grand-
child,” said Gerry Guerra.                Guerra’s share a legacy of community children. Their generous gift will help
                                                                                                                (continued on page 6)


Nine-year-old Meets Challenges of Cancer
with Determination and Great Spirit                                                                INSIDE:
                             By Dipali Pathak



                             D
                                       aniela Villarreal is a bright 9-year-old who, as her     Stefany Gonzalez Joins
                                       mother describes, has a certain aura that draws          the Clinic as a Social
                                       people to her. Her strength and tremendous spirit        Worker                 page 2
                             have kept her hopes up during her fight against leukemia.
                                  Daniela was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic                  Friends for Hope
                             leukemia in October of 2003 when she was 7-years-old, and          Lends a Hand             page 2
                             the Villarreal family’s life has been a roller coaster ride ever
                             since. The diagnosis was a complete shock to the family, but       Clinic Friends are
                             the challenges have not changed Daniela’s confidence and            Generous                 page 3
                             plans for the future.
                                  Because the Villarreals live in Rio Grande City, a small      Clinic Happenings        page 4
                             city in the Valley, they were afraid that they would have to
                             drive for hours to a major city in order for Daniela to get        Meet the Staff           page 5
                             treatment. “I didn’t even know about the clinic in McAllen,”
                             says mother Dolly about the Vannie E. Cook Jr. Children’s
Daniela Villarreal and her   Cancer and Hematology Clinic.
mother Dolly                                                            (continued on page 6)
 Social Worker Tackles Cancer as Issue for the Entire Family

T
        he introduction of a                                                          years of experience and has worked
        social worker into the                                                        in varying fields of social work from
        multidisciplinary team                                                        case management to oncology social
approach at the Vannie E.                                                             work and has worked with an array of
Cook Jr. Children’s Cancer and                                                        populations including children, teens,
Hematology Clinic was clearly                                                         families, and cancer survivors and their
the next step in the clinic’s desire                                                  caregivers.
to ease the burden of childhood                                                              “It is clear that cancer does not
cancer in children, families, and                                                     only impact a patient’s medical well-
the community.                                                                        being but the emotional, mental, and
    Stefany Levrier Gonzales                                                          spiritual well-being of an entire family,”
joined the clinic in December. She Stefany Levrier Gonzales joined the Vannie E. Cook she said. “A family-centered approach
                                        Clinic in December.
earned her bachelor’s in social work                                                  to working with patients and their
at The University of Texas at Austin after which she pursued families is key, as the coping abilities and strategies of
her licensure at the bachelor’s level. She received her           the parents and siblings often impact the perspective and
master’s of science in social work at The University of Texas experience of the child with cancer.”
Pan American at Edinburg in 2003 and became a licensed                 The much-needed position is funded by a donor who
master of social work shortly thereafter. She has eight           wished to remain anonymous.


Young Adults in Community Form                                                          Planned Giving
“Friends for Hope” To Raise Funds                                                       Helps Treat Local
                                                                                        Children With Cancer
Y
         oung adults
         in the Rio
         Grande                                                                             Did you know that you can use part
Valley who are                                                                          of your estate to help treat children with
motivated to make                                                                       cancer? There are four common types of
a difference in their                                                                   bequests:
community have
established Friends                                                                     ◆ Percentage Bequest – You specify
for Hope at the                                                                           a certain percentage of your total
Vannie E. Cook Jr.                                                                        estate be given to the clinic.
Children’s Cancer
and Hematology                                                                          ◆ Fixed Dollar Bequest – You
Clinic to do just that. Left to right. Cindy Disque, Laura Ilgun, Will Collins, Blake     designate a specific amount of
                         Box, Tricia Patton, Brianne Baumeister and Carlos Santos
     A group of                                                                           money to be given to the clinic.
young adults between the ages of 21 and 35, Friends for Hope is able                    ◆ Residual Bequest – You specify
to contribute to the clinic through fundraisers, community awareness
                                                                                          that all remaining assets of the
and donations. With their motto of “hang out, have fun, and give back,”
members also have the opportunity to meet and socialize.
                                                                                          state, after bequests to heirs and
     While the group is just in its beginning stages, members are planning                beneficiaries, be given to the clinic.
a gala in the near future. In May, they held the 1st Annual Friends for                 ◆ Contingent Bequest – You specify
Hope 480 Ranch Party with 170 guests attending. They raised over                          that, if all heirs and beneficiaries
$5,000 at the event for the clinic.                                                       names in your will are deceased, the
     “Their help will make a tremendous impact on the lives of the                        estate be given to the clinic.
patients at the clinic,” said Dr. Juan Carlos Bernini, medical director of
the clinic.                                                                                 For more information, speak with your
     If you are interested in learning more about Friends for Hope, contact             attorney or contact Laura Martinez Ilgun at
Laura Martinez Ilgun at 956-661-9840 or email rgvfriendsforhope@                        956-661-9840.
hotmail.com.

Page 2                                                                  The Vannie E. Cook Jr. Children’s Cancer and Hematology Clinic
  Gifts to the Vannie E. Cook Jr. Children’s Cancer and
  Hematology Clinic and Vannie E. Cook Jr. Cancer Foundation
  We express our appreciation to all of our friends and supporters and to the following whose donations and pledges
  were made during the period of Sept. 1, 2004 to June 30, 2005.

  $100,000 - $500,000           Mr. & Mrs. Charles                 Krismer Consulting                  Mrs. Deborah S. De La Rosa       Mr. & Mrs. Robert McAllen
  Guerra Bros. Successors, Ltd.      Thompson Jr.                  Lt. Gen. & Mrs. Derald Lary         Ms. Mary Lana De Leon            Mr. & Mrs. B. J. McDonald
  Houston Endowment Inc.        Mr. James G. Thompson              Mr. & Mrs. Bruce R. Leahy           Mr. & Mrs. Arthur B. Deventer    Mr. Robert B. McLeaish
  Meadows Foundation Inc.       Dr. & Mrs. Domingo H. Useda        Ms. Linda Lee & Family              Mrs. Patty O. Dickerson          Mrs. Anne M. Meadows
                                Mrs. Dorinda Van Burkleo           Mr. & Mrs. Heriberto F.             Ms. Macarena L. Duque            Mr. Chester M. Moore
  $50,000 - $99,999             Wal-Mart Foundation                    Longoria, Jr.                   Mr. David M. Espinoza            Mr. & Mrs. Rodney Moore
  Anonymous                     WatchZone Inc.                     Mr. & Mrs. K. Martin                Mr. Michael A. Fallek            Mr. Glen R. Morgan
  CBDG City of McAllen          Wiggles Children’s Rehab.          Mr. Roel Martinez                   Ms. Sheila M. Fernald            Ms. Dalia C. Morin
  Development Corporation of                                       Ms. Rebecca L. Mendez               Ms. Griselda Fino                Mrs. Ruth Dean Morris
      McAllen, Inc.             $500 - $999                        Ms. Marivel Mercado                 Dr. J. Forrest Fitch             Mrs. Irma Nikicicz
                                The Lloyd Bentsen, Sr. Family      Mr. & Mrs. Paul S. Moxley           Ms. Herminia Forshage            Ms. Yvonne M. Ortega
  $10,000 - $49,999                  (Foundation)                  Mr. Armando C. Osio                 Mr. & Mrs. Bert Forthuber        Our Lady of Sorrows School
  Loring Cook Foundation        Mr. Bill Burns                     Mr. Trey Pebley                     Mr. Alan Frank                   Mrs. Cathryn G. Padilla
  Mr. & Mrs. Edward             McAllen Chamber of                 Mr. & Mrs. Roberto Ramirez          Mr. & Mrs. John Freeland         Mr. Keith A. Padilla
      Metcalf III                    Commerce                      Mr. & Mrs. Bill Robertson           Mrs. Richard D. Galloway         Mrs. Jean T. Palmer
  Kenedy Memorial               Ms. Drucella Carrillo              Mr. & Mrs. Morris H. Robinson       Mr. & Mrs. Gregory R. Gamble     Mr. Joe A. Perez
      Foundation                Mrs. Susan Cornelius               J. E. Saenz & Associates, Inc.      Mrs. Lyle Gandy                  Mr. Robert Perez, Jr.
                                DeLeon Middle School               Mr. Luis Sambrano                   Mrs. Dalinda Garcia              Mr. & Mrs. B. Buck Pettitt
  $5,000 - $9,999               Edinburg Rotary Club               Mrs. Katherine Scales               Mr. Roy Garcia                   Mr. J. L. Polinard
  Andrews Family Foundation Dr. & Mrs. Shereef Hilmy               Mr. Robert L. Schwarz               Mr. & Mrs. Richard Garfield       Mr. & Mrs. Jerome V. Raders
  Mr. Donald L. Bentsen         Dr. & Mrs. Vincent Honrubia        Mr. Boone Slusher                   Mr. Martin P. Garza              Ms. Lucia Regalado
  Doctors Hospital at           Lone Star National Bank            Mr. Lynch D. Smith                  Mr. Alberto Garza                Ms. Anabella Ramos
      Renaissance               Dr. Robert Martinez                Mr. & Mrs. Mark T. Southwell        Mr. James A. Garza               Ms. Emily Rhea
  Docs for Tots c/o RGR         McAllen National Bank              Southwood Homes, Ltd.               Mr. Jose M. Garza, Jr.           Ms. Marvel Deen Rhodes
      Hospital                  Mission Duncan Insurance           Mr. & Mrs. Rolando Stivalet         Ms. Virginia Gauna               Mr. & Mrs. Harry L. Roberts
  Mr. & Mrs. Larry Fallek       Ms. Tula Sue Morgan                Mr. Robert Tarkowski                Mrs. Stefany L. Gonzales         Ms. Esmeralda Rodriguez
  Palm Valley Health Care, Inc. Mr. & Mrs. Jesse Trevino           Valley Drywall & Insulation, Inc.   Dr. & Mrs. Lauro G. Guerra       Mr. Tomas Rojas
  Mr. & Mrs. Roland Smith       Van Burkleo Motors                 Dr. & Mrs. Roger J. Vitko           Mr. & Mrs. Rolando Guerra, Jr.   R. V. Toney’s Plumbing
  Urban County Program,         Mrs. Joy E. Welch                  Mrs. E. F. Wallace                  Mr. & Mrs. Gary Gurwitz          Mrs. Rita E. Salazar
      Pct. 2                    Texas Melon Exchange               Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth Waller           Ms. Yvonne Guzman                Ms. Luz I. Salinas
                                Valley Financial Marketing, Inc.   Mr. & Mrs. Gilbert Weisberg         Mr. & Mrs. William A. Hardwick   Mr. & Mrs. Oscar Santiago
  $1,000 - $4,999               Valley Insurance Providers         Margaret Wells Properties           Mr. & Mrs. Jack Hart             Mr. & Mrs. Leland E.
  Atlas & Hall, L.L.P.          Bert Whisenant Insurance           Mrs. Jean Williams                  Mr. & Mrs. Brandon K.                Schachterle
  Mrs. Ana Bergh                                                   Mr. William H. Wilson                   Henderson                    Mr. & Mrs. W. L. Schuler
  Mr. Othal Brand Jr.           $100 - $499                        Mr. & Mrs. John Wright              Mr. Jesse J. Hereford            Ms. Myrna Sepulveda
  Catholic Daughters Of The     Mr. & Mrs. Orvis Akers             Mr. Edward J. Zinsmeister           Mr. & Mrs. Dick Heller           Mrs. Cecila Shapiro
      Americas                  Mr. & Mrs. Felipe Avila                                                Mr. Clarence Hicks               Mrs. Cynthia Silva
  Mr. & Mrs. Wiliam E.          Blue Star Chemical Co., Inc.       Up to $99                           Mr. & Mrs. George E. Hinkle      Mr. & Mrs. Larry Simon
      Coffman, Jr.              Mr. Jerry Box                      Mr. & Mrs. Jim Abbott               Ms. Norma Hinojosa               Ms. Michelle A. Smith
  Mrs. Toni Davila              C & M Construction, Corp.          Mrs. Martine N. Acosta              Mrs. Michelle Hinsley            Ms. Maribel Solis
  Dr. Eutiquio M. Elizondo, Jr. Southern Post Construction         Mr. & Mrs. B. J. Akins              Mr. & Mrs. Blaine H. Holcomb     Mrs. Helen Spikes
  Exxon Mobil                   Dr. & Mrs. Daniel A. Chester       Mrs. Cathy Alonzo                   Mr. & Mrs. Kevin J. Hurt         Mrs. Victoria Stephen
  First National Bank           Mr. & Mrs. Steven S. Cofoid        Mrs. Judy M. Amyx                   Mrs. Angelina Jackson            Mr. Joe E. Stephens, Jr.
  Mr. Joe Richard Flores        Mr. & Mrs. Shelley Collier, Jr.    Ms. Yvette Balderas                 Mrs. Maria R. Jimenez            Mr. W. A. Stephenson
  Green Thumb Yard              Tequila Jacks                      Dr. & Mrs. Cayetano Barrera         Mrs. Janet Cramer Jones          Mr. & Mrs. Steven Vidaurri
      Maintenance               Ms. Carol A. Famiglietti           Ms. J. A. Bland                     Mr. & Mrs. Mark J. Kach          Ms. Eva Marie Tavarez
  Dr. Anna Guzman               Mr. Jerry Farias                   Ms. Debra D. Bolin                  Mrs. Mary Lou Kennard            Mr. & Mrs. Marvin Tavarez
  Killer Bee Foundation, Inc.   FastSigns                          Mr. & Mrs. Curtis Brockman          Mr. & Mrs. C. Wesley             Mrs. Linda K. Tebbe
  Mr. Neal P. King              Mr. & Mrs. Bert Forthuber          Ms. Sandy Brown                         Kittleman, Jr.               Mr. & Mrs. Jim Thomas
  Lack’s Valley Stores, Inc.    Mr. & Mrs. Hollis M. Fritts        Burton, McCumber & Cortez,          Mrs. Elizabeth Jane Klinck       Mr. & Mrs. Charles L.
  Mr. & Mrs. Frank LaFemina Dr. Samuel T. Garcia, Jr.                  LLP                             Mrs. Kathy T. Knight                 Thompson, III
  Dr. & Mrs. C. Kenneth         Dr. John A. Gerling                Mrs. Sheila H. Butlter              Mr. Jeremy Koester               Dr. Jorge E. Tijmes
      Landrum                   Mr. Gary Groves                    Ms. Brooke L. Callender             Mr. & Mrs. Maynard Kreidler      Mr. & Mrs. William L.
  Laredo National Bank          Mr. & Mrs. Carl Hamilton           Mr. Horacio Canales                 Ms. Lynise S. Larance                Turberville
  Med-Care Ambulance            Mrs. Harold Hendricks              Mr. Jose Luis Cano                  Mrs. Shirley M. Leaman           Mr. Jesus Jaime Valadez
  Memorial H.S. - Deca          Mrs. James M. Hicks                Mr. & Mrs. Stanley M. Carney        Mr. Edmundo Leandro, Jr.         Mr. & Mrs. James Van Burkleo
  Monica’s Angels               Hilb, Rogal & Hobbs                Ms. Cecilia Castillo                Mr. Craig Lewis                  Ms. Kathy J. Vanness
  Mr. & Mrs. Paul Moffitt        Mr. Michael Holt                   Mr. Ricardo Castro                  Mr. Salvado Lopez                Mr. & Mrs. Paul G. Veale
  NOPA, Inc.                    Ms. Laura M. Ilgun                 Dr. & Mrs. Daniel A. Chester        Mr. Charles R. Lopez             Ms. Idolina G. Vela
  RGV Motors, Inc.              Mr. A. C. Jaime                    Ms. Marissa Y. Coker                Mr. Santiago Luna                Mr. Ruben Villescas
  Saltillo Group, LLC The       Johnson Brothers Construction      Ms. Gudadalupe Corbett              Mr. Brian Kelly                  Mrs. Doris Wagner
      Oaks at Cimarron          Mr. James L. Jones                 Ms. Diana G. Craig                  Mr. & Mrs. Samuel Mandelbaum     Mr. & Mrs. Richard Walsh
  Texas Central Incentive       Ms. Ida Johnstone                  Mrs. Sulinda Davis                  Mrs. Gladys Manning              Mr. & Mrs. William Walter
  Texas State Bank              Jr. League of McAllen              Mr. B. J. Day                       Ms. Sylvia Martinez              Dr. & Mrs. Joseph V. Weir
  The Wornick Company           Mr. & Mrs. Marvin Kautsch          Ms. Roxanne De La Garza             Mr. & Mrs. Ramiro Martinez       Dr. Paola D. Wiernik


The Vannie E. Cook Jr. Children’s Cancer and Hematology Clinic                                                                                                Page 3
                                                                                                        
                                                                                   Clinic
                                                                                 Happenings             

Walk and Ride for Life The First Annual “Walk and Ride for Life”
brought the community together through a bike tour to benefit the clinic.
Pictured are Janie Avila, Daniela Vilarreal, and Jamie Rodriguez




                                                                           DeLeon Middle School Contribute Students from DeLeon
                                                                           Middle School’s National Junior Honor Society collected over $5,000
                                                                           for cancer patients. The money was used to purchase toys for children,
                                                                           and the remaining $850 was donated to the cancer clinic. Seated,
                                                                           Caitlin Hinojosa; on floor, Samantha Garza; from left, Pat Pardon,
                                                                           Anna Reeve and Alma Garza.



 Children’s Cattle Barons Fiesta Gene and Melissa Mikulik served
 as co-chairs of the American Cancer Society’s Children’s Cattle Barons
 Fiesta. Similar events will be held all over the country to celebrate
 children and families who are affected by cancer. The Mikuliks are
 pictured with their children and Daniella Villarreal.




Docs for Tots donated $8,000 to the Vannie E. Cook Jr. Cancer and          Alex’s Lemonade Stand Patient Sal Vela selling lemonade at
Hematology Clinic in support of local programs for children battling       Valley Race Park in Harlingen. Fundraiser raised over $1,000 for Alex’s
cancer. Pictured from left are: Dr. Fredericka Borland, Bill Burns,        Lemonade Stand For Pediatric Cancer Research. Proceeds will go to the
Melody Smith, Laura Martinez Ilgun, Paul Forward, and Gabby Garza.         Vannie E. Cook Jr. Children’s Cancer and Hematology Clinic in McAllen.

The Vannie E. Cook Jr. Children’s Cancer and Hematology Clinic                                                                              Page 4
                                                    MEET THE STAFF
                                                                                       Dalinda Garcia
                                                                                       Position at the Vannie Cook Clinic: Medical Assistant/
                                                                                       Clinical Technician II
                                                                                       I was born in: McAllen but live in Pharr
                                                                                       Family: I am the oldest in my family I have one sister and
                                                                                           two brothers. I am also a mother of three—one son
                                                                                           and two daughters—and of course, a husband.
                                                                                       One thing I’d like you to know about me: The one thing
                                                                                           I really enjoy is traveling. I like learning about
                                                                                           different cultures and love spending my extra time
                                                                                           with my family.

                                                                                       Stefany Levrier Gonzales, LMSW
                                                                                       (not pictured)
Front Row: Elda Guerra, Laura Martinez Ilgun, Dr. Rodrigo Erana, Dalinda               Position at the Vannie Cook Clinic: Social Worker
Garcia; Second Row: Dr. Juan Carlos Bernini, Celeste Almaraz, Jaime                   I was born in: Weslaco
Rodriguez, RN and Janie Avila, RN; Not pictured: Stefany Levrier Gonzales             Family: Husband, James; Daughter, Ashlei Anjuli, 7 years
                                                                              One thing I’d like you to know about me: I always
  Celeste Almaraz                                                               knew I wanted to help people and make a difference in
  Position at the Vannie Cook Clinic: Administrative Coordinator/               their lives. I enjoy life and I love people. I’m good hearted, fun
      Medical Assistant                                                         loving, and love to laugh. I come to work every morning with a
  I was born in: Brownsville                                                    feeling of excitement and energy, and at the end of the day, I
  Family: My family consists of my husband Jesse, and two children              leave with a feeling of tremendous accomplishment and
      Celyn, 13, and Noah, 14 months.                                           fulfillment. I’m glad I have the chance to be in the presence of
  One thing I’d like you to know about me: I like scrapbooking.                 such wonderful, strong, and loving individuals everyday. Thank
                                                                                you patients and staff of Vannie Cook for having such a
  Janie Avila, RN                                                               beautiful impact on my life.
  Position at the Vannie Cook Clinic: Registered Nurse- Nursing
      Supervisor                                                             Elda Guerra
  I was born in: Weslaco, Texas                                              Position at the Vannie Cook Clinic: Administrative Coordinator.
  Family: Husband - Felipe Avila; Son - Eric David Avila, 7 yrs old.             Medical Assistant
  One thing I’d like you to know about me: Working here is a dream           I was born in: McAllen
      come true for me. It is a personal fulfillment that enables me to       Family: One child, Beatrice, 6 years
      feel accomplished and lets me know that our Lord has allowed me        One thing I’d like you to know about me: I enjoy dancing.
      to be here for a purpose. Thank you for letting me serve you. God
      Bless You!                                                             Laura Martinez Ilgun
                                                                             Position at the Vannie Cook Clinic: Director of Development and
  Name: Juan Carlos Bernini, M.D.                                                Public Relations
  Position at the Vannie Cook Clinic: Pediatric Oncologist and               I was born in: McAllen
      Hematologist & Clinic Medical Director                                 Family: One daughter, Isabella, age 12
  I was born in: Costa Rica                                                  One thing I’d like you to know about me: I have received much
  Family: Wife – Cynthia                                                         more from these children than they have received from me and
          Sons – Giancarlo and Alessandro                                        the work that I do on their behalf. Their strength and courage in
  One thing I’d like you to know about me: I feel privileged to have             dealing with a life-threatening disease has been a life lesson.
      had the opportunity to come to the Valley and care for the young
      children who are patients at the Clinic. Plus, I try to get outdoors
                                                                             Jaime Rodriguez, RN
      as much as possible—I love it.
                                                                             Position at the Vannie Cook Clinic: Staff Nurse
                                                                             I was born in: Mercedes (city not car)
  Name: Rodrigo Erana, M.D.                                                  Family: I come from a large family 3 girls and 3 boys (I’m the
  Position at the Vannie Cook Clinic: Pediatric Oncologist/                      middle child). Wife, Yvonne, and two beautiful children Ana
      Hematologist                                                               Liza and Alejandro
  I was born in: Mexico City                                                 One thing I’d like you to know about me: I love the sport of
  Family: Married to Georgina and have four children: Ana Jose,                  cycling.
      Rodrigo, Maialen and Ander
  One thing I’d like you to know about me: Not only do I like working
      with the patients, but also I really enjoy getting to know the
      families. Also, I am very pleased to be in this community where I
      feel that our facility has made a tremendous difference.


The Vannie E. Cook Jr. Children’s Cancer and Hematology Clinic                                                                                Page 5
BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE                                                                                    Non-Profit Org.
One Baylor Plaza, 176B                                                                                         U.S. Postage
Houston, Texas 77030                                                                                              PAID
                                                                                                              Houston, Texas
                                                                                                               Permit 1492




  Guerra Brothers (continued from page 1)
  build a new, state-of-the-art chemo-          “I’ve known the Guerras for          believe in the work we are doing here,
  therapy and infusion area which will      many years and have always known         and have strongly endorsed our
  allow the clinic staff to treat an        them to be very involved with their      mission and chemotherapy unit
  additional eight to ten patients a day.   community, church, schools, and          expansion project is very meaningful
  This will make the long chemo-            professional organizations. They         to us all,” said Laura Martinez Ilgun,
  therapy visits more comfortable for       strongly believe in helping others       the clinic’s director of development
  the patients and their families.          and giving back. The fact that they      and public relations.

Villarreal (continued from page 1)            That stay in Houston gave the               “When Daniela was first diagnosed
                                         family a new appreciation of having a       with leukemia, she asked me why God
     The 60-minute drive to McAllen      clinic close to their home and support      was doing this to her. I told her that
is much easier than the many hours it    system.                                     God never does anything bad, and you
would take to get to a major city.            “We were willing to give up all of     need to find something good out of all
Daniela was able to get almost all of    the facilities in Houston to be able to     of this. She told me that if she hadn’t
her treatment in McAllen, and Dolly      go home. Daniela wanted to go back to       gotten leukemia, she wouldn’t have met
believes that this is what kept their    ‘her’ doctors,” says Dolly.                 all of the great people at the clinic,”
family closer than ever.                      During a regular visit to the          says Dolly.
     The family knows what it is like to McAllen Clinic, Daniela will meet with           The clinic encourages siblings of
be split apart. Nine months into her     Dr. Juan Carlos Bernini, medical direc-     patients to participate in different
treatment, Daniela became paralyzed.     tor, and get in her game of UNO with        activities such as holiday parties, so
Eventually, the paralysis spread         Dr. Rodrigo Eraña. Dr. Bernini would        even they feel included.
throughout her body up to her neck, and even bring Daniella pizza or food from            Daniela is now in remission, and
she could barely hold her head up. A     McDonald’s to entice her to eat when        she has 8 months of treatment remain-
trip to Houston became necessary.        she lost a great deal of weight at the      ing. After that, she will continue to have
     The condition is very rare. Daniela beginning of her treatment.                 physical therapy.
was classified as one of the 19 or so          Dolly describes the clinic as a big         “She believes that she will walk
children in the entire world who had     extended family. She and another            again,” says Dolly, “and I believe her.”
this kind of paralysis due to leukemia.  mother have even started a support               The bond that Daniela has with the
After spending three weeks in Houston, group for parents whose children are          doctors and nurses at the clinic is amaz-
with Daniella’s 5-year-old brother       going through cancer treatment. The         ing. “They are like family to us,” says
Diego staying with his grandparents in support group is the first of its kind in      Dolly. “Daniela bought Father’s Day
the Valley, the Villarreal family went   the Valley, and Dolly says it’s their way   presents for all of them.”
back to McAllen to continue treatment. of giving something back to the clinic.


The Vannie E. Cook Jr. Children’s Cancer and Hematology Clinic                                                           Page 6

				
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