CORPUS CHRISTI – For four-year-old Nicolas Dones IV of Harlingen, Saturday’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Day at Bowlero bowling alley was a day for him to be with other children experiencing the same thing he has gone through.
The event, sponsored by Driscoll Children’s Hospital’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, is a way for the center’s oncology patients to reunite with old friends and to observe September as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Cuatro was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia shortly after his first birthday. His parents took him to the physician because some people at his birthday party thought he looked anemic.
“It took us by surprise,” said his mom, Myra Dones. “It felt like someone had punched us in the stomach.”
Cuatro started treatment at Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi on Aug. 29, 2014. The treatment continued in Corpus Christi for 10 months, and the Dones family became very close to the medical staff treating Cuatro.
“We fell in love with everyone at Driscoll,” said Myra.
“They treat us like family,” said Nicolas Dones III. “It’s a very special family.”
Cuatro, who is doing well, now goes to Driscoll Children’s Hospital’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center in the Rio Grande Valley for checkups. He is due to finish treatment at the end of this year.
This is the family’s second year to attend the Driscoll Childhood Cancer Awareness Day celebration.
“We think it’s great. We love coming back to see our Corpus Christi family,” said Myra. “We get to see other children we met at clinic and catch up on how they are doing, to see how much they have grown.”
Such camaraderie was evident at the event, as patients, parents and Driscoll staff hugged and posed for photographs.
“Every year we have a celebration with the oncology patients and their families,” said Cynthia McMinn, Clinical Coordinator for Driscoll Children’s Hospital’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. “We get to honor them, celebrate with them, and most importantly we want them to know that they are not in this fight alone.”
More than 300 people attended the event.