Hope, Strength, and Healing for families coping with a child cancer diagnosis

“When someone has cancer, the whole family and everyone who loves them does too”

The Alcala Family moved from Texas to Sacramento and were adjusting to a being a new family of four with the arrival of Baby Jacob. During a holiday visit to celebrate his First Christmas, Jacob’s father noticed that his right shin was swollen. Mom also glanced over and her initial reaction was, “He probably fell down, let’s put some ice on it.”  After returning home, Jacob took antibiotics over the course of 2 months for a possible infection.

With no improvement, the next step was an MRI which showed a mass on his leg. Jacob was quickly referred to UCSF for a biopsy. Annabel will never forget the day she heard, “I am sorry. The cells appear to be abnormal, the pathologist thinks he might have Rhabdomyosarcoma.” This news was shared with family and loved ones in Texas who sent their support from afar.

Jacob’s treatment began with frequent commutes to USCF causing his parents to miss work in order to remain at bedside. “This is when the initial KCCA grant made a tremendous difference. We were able to use that money for gas, food, and to cover some bills,” shared Annabel.

Three months later, Jacob underwent two surgeries and had intra-operative radiation to remove the tumor. With additional income loss and unexpected vehicle repairs, KCCA was able to help pay for car parts and provided gas cards. “We are truly grateful for all the generosity and help from the KCCA staff.”
Jacob beginning his maintenance chemo and anxiously awaiting his final chemo in September. Annabel is still in disbelief that it’s been a year since Jacob’s diagnosis in April 2018.

Annabel’s favorite quote,  “When someone has cancer, the whole family and everyone who loves them does too” (Terri Clark). Despite the rollercoaster ride they’ve experienced this past year, the Alcala Family is united and stronger than ever…”We are ready to finish and beat this battle with cancer as a family!”.

Jacob is now 2 years old, loves animals especially dogs, and enjoys being a dinosaur while chasing around his 5 year old sister, Hailey, and parents. Now, the Alcala Family loves participating in KCCA family events such as Holly Jolly, Funderland, and Fairytale Town…”we have the opportunity to meet other families and create wonderful family memories outside the hospital setting.”

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