BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Every year the Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center (CBCC) helps brighten up the holidays for children battling cancer throughout Kern County with the annual Christmas party where hundreds of kids receive donated toys from the community.
However,one young man's Christmas will have some extra sparkle this year following some news he received Wednesday morning.
11-year-old Jesus Rodriguez was first diagnosed with cancer in September of last year, "He was dragging his legs, he was dragging his arm, I would took him to his primary doctor they would do his you know ex-rays and nothing came back, so then finally they put a splint on his arm and he was still doing the same symptoms," Jesus’s mother Veronica Lopez said.
When his symptoms were not going away they looked to other doctors for help, "I took him to Valley Children’s Hospital and they said oh no, they just looked at his eyes and they were like there is something else going on in his head.... and it was a brain tumor," Lopez said.
The next day doctor's at Valley Children's Hospital conducted brain surgery on Jesus so that they could remove the brain tumor. A week later lab results showed the tumor was cancerous, "Oh you can imagine I was just a wreck and I had to break the news down to the family and prior to that I had a sister going through breast cancer. So she was my big supporter as well you know and so I had two of them going through cancer at the same time,” Lopez said.
Cancer made it's way through Lopez's family but strengthened her faith through the hard times, "So you know God's good you gotta just have faith, you gotta be strong, you can't give up, It was hard for him with the chemo, the chemo is the one that was hard for him because he was always throwing up, they go through diarrhea, they get all of these side effects," Lopez said.
According to Lopez Jesus had to miss school for his treatments but they found support in the community to ensure he had the best chance at survival. The CBCC began helping shuttle Jesus and Lopez to his radiation appointments in Fresno since currently there is no treatment centers in Kern County.
Jesus's classmates also didn't forget about him either, many of them sent him cards to his house and made him a personalized quilt.
According to CBCC representative Michelle Avila, in 2018 there were 2500 newly diagnosed cancer patients in Kern County alone, but there’s also a higher survival rate among children, “They estimate about 75 percent of children will survive cancer if they are diagnosed," Avila said.
After more than a year of treatment, Wednesday the course of Jesus's journey took a different turn, "So today we got news that no tumor! Amen yay no tumor today! This morning I just found out," Lopez said.
A cancer free Christmas Jesus told 23ABC News he didn't think he would see this year, but one many other children like him are looking forward to because of the annual Christmas party made possible by the CBCC and the community, "We invite specifically those who have been diagnosed over the last couple of years and give them an opportunity to come. We do gifts for them with Santa, we have arts and crafts, this year we're going to have snow for them to play in. But it's extremely important to these families because some of them this is all the gifts that they get," Avila said.
Jesus already has his eye on one a Fixie bike in hopes that Santa will help him get in even better shape now that he's healthy for this Christmas, "I'll ride it all the time," Jesus said.
If you would like to donate gifts to children like Jesus in our community and others also battling cancer who will be attending this year's Christmas party on December 15, organizers are still seeking gifts for pre-teens and teens, gas gift cards for patient appointment transportation and or new clothes that are germ free. They ask that donors drop of donations a week before the party at the CBCC location off Truxtun Avenue.
You can call also donate at their website .