Imagine taking your three-year-old daughter to the doctor for a fever and receiving routine antibiotics. You would assume they would work and that your daughter would be feeling better within the next day or so — but then she doesn’t, and you find yourself rushing her to Children’s of Alabama a week later when the fever hasn’t lifted.
That’s how Briza Ramirez’s story begins, and it continues with her diagnosis of AML leukemia. Read on to learn more about Briza’s journey and how aTeam ministries was able to help her family during treatment.
The Ramirez family was shattered when they received Briza’s diagnosis of AML leukemia. How would they even begin to deal with such a heartbreaking situation? How could this possibly be happening to them? But it was, and so they began a grueling treatment regimen to fight the cancer that had invaded her body.
Unfortunately, after four rounds of chemotherapy, Briza still wasn’t cancer-free. In fact, the cancer seemed to have gained even more strength. That’s when her medical team decided the only option was a bone marrow transplant — a procedure so intense, it’s reserved only for times of dire need.
But Briza’s cancer wasn’t responding to treatment, and so they started the search for a bone marrow donor.
The Bone Marrow Transplant
Because of genetic similarities, donor searches always begin with family members. Unfortunately, even with siblings, there is only a 1 in 4 chance that a match will be found. But after testing Briza’s little sister Zoe, who was two years old at the time, they found that Zoe’s bone marrow scored a 10 out of 10. In other words, she was a perfect match!
The bone marrow transplant took place that February, but there was something else to consider: the Ramirez family needed a place to stay for the three months following the procedure. This was due to the requirement that patients stay close to the hospital after a bone marrow transplant, and that the patient stay in a clean, rather isolated location because of their decreased immunity. But where would the family stay, and how would they afford it?
Enter aTeam Ministries
When the Ramirez family’s social worker contacted us, they had already spent over five months in the hospital. As you can imagine, they were ready to be somewhere that felt more like home! We were able to move them into the aTeam apartment, where they could stay rent-free until Briza finished her treatment. The “rent-free” part was especially helpful to them because Mr. Ramirez had to leave work in order to be the translator between the medical team and his Spanish-speaking family.
Additionally, the apartment provided a place for the children to play. Briza could not go outside, so they needed an inside place to explore their creativity and simply be kids. The aTeam apartment provided that place for them and allowed them to be a family during a very hard time.
Briza, who’s four now, continues to recover well — and her family has been told that they can go home! Please remember to pray for the Ramirez family as they re-enter their normal life. Pray that Briza would not relapse and that she would continue to make a full recovery.
aTeam is so thankful that we could be part of this family’s story. It is a truly special thing to be able to step in and tangibly help someone in a time of desperate need, and that’s what God allowed us to do. We look forward to working with more families like Briza’s in the future!
Know a Family in Need? Contact Us Today!
We are committed to offering spiritual, financial, and emotional support to children and their families coping with pediatric cancer. We support these families through a variety of programs including prayer teams, home away from home lodging, financial grants, and numerous events and activities. If you know of a family in need, contact us today!