MD Anderson doctors, nurses and staff launch a full-court press to stop a young athlete’s cancer
Playing basketball, football and running cross country thisschool year was not what Luz Giraldo envisioned for her son Greg, when he was diagnosed with cancer three years ago. If fact, she and her husband, are just grateful that Greg is here today.
“Participating in normal activities is a bonus,” says Giraldo. “Greg was such an active and healthy child who never got sick.”
Greg was only 10 years old when he felt burning pain in his right eye. He thought the pain was the result of a classmate’s jacket hitting him in the eye during gym class, but the continued pain alerted his mom that something was wrong. A CT scan revealed a tumor behind his eye, and a biopsy confirmed it was cancer.
Giraldo recalls the shock her family felt when Greg’s doctor, Winston Huh, M.D., a pediatric oncologist at MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital, told them Greg had orbital rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare childhood cancer of the eye socket.
“We never suspected cancer,” she said.
Greg went through a grueling 52-week regimen of chemotherapy, and another 25 weeks of radiation therapy. During treatment, he and his two brothers attended MD Anderson’s Camp Star Trails – a weeklong camp for MD Anderson patients and siblings, hosted annually at Camp For All in Burton, Texas.
“This was great bonding time for the boys,” says Giraldo. “They had so much fun at camp. Greg was relieved to know that there were other kids going through the same thing he was going through.”
Giraldo says her son’s cancer journey has been challenging for the entire family, but credits MD Anderson with providing much-needed support.
“Greg’s brothers were always invited to the same hospital events and activities he was. MD Anderson made sure they were entertained and occupied during Greg’s chemotherapy and radiation treatments.”
Today at age 13, Greg shows no evidence of cancer. He wears eyeglasses to help with vision problems caused by the disease, but he doesn’t let that get in the way of sports. He comes back to MD Anderson every four months for follow-up care, and he and his brothers continue to participate in hospital activities and events.
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