Erika Tostado is a full-time student at Cabrillo College, working toward her degree in Early Childhood Education. Her oldest son, Louis, who is 11 and a 5th grader at Starlight Elementary in Watsonville, California, was diagnosed on March 16, 2012 with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. The diagnosis came on suddenly and unexpectedly.
Louis is currently receiving intense chemotherapy treatment at Lucile Packard Children's Hopsital at Stanford and requires 24 hour care. His doctor’s estimate that this initial phase of treatment will last between 6 – 8 weeks, but that long-term treatment could continue for at least a year, depending on how he responds. The treatment so far has made Louis very sick. He is very nauseous and has already lost a lot of his hair.
Erika is a single mother and has 5 other children. Extended family are taking care of the kids while Erika stays with Louis. Up to this point, Erika had been working at the Integrated Learning Center at Cabrillo as a Student Assistant, but she has had to stop working in order to be with him. She is still--remotely--trying to finish most of this Spring semester's courses.
The family is obviously under a lot of pressure. The money from this campaign will benefit Louis' medical expenses and the expenses Erika has to maintain her family--rent, utilities, gas, groceries.
It's unbearable enough for a mother to watch her son endure this sickness and to motivate him to fight this fight. It's traumatic enough for a mother to be separated from her other children for lengths of time. Erika should not have to worry about making next month's rent, about buying gas to get back and forth from Watsonville to Stanford, about keeping her family secure. She has made the right choices to be with her son and support her family, even though it has meant she has had to stop working. She continues on with her studies, knowing that finishing her degree, longterm, is the best possibility for her.
Before he got sick, Louis was an active kid, into video games, the Raiders and the Giants. He had a blast in science camp. These are the images we want to see once again.
Your support will serve as a bridge through very difficult times. Please spread the word.
Blessings and peace.