Help Carmelo Beat Leukemia
Last Thursday, February 9th, my godson, Carmelo Collazo, was suddenly diagnosed with leukemia and immediately admitted into the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Scottish Rite Hospital to schedule a same day blood transfusion. Friday morning doctors notified parents, Erick and Roxanne Collazo, of Carmelo’s complete diagnosis. Carmelo has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) which is the most common cancer in children. With the blessing of technological advancements and funded research, the increased survival rates give our family even more faith and confidence our strong Melo will show cancer who is boss.
The Collazo’s are looking at about a 3 year treatment plan to fight this battle and we need all the battalions we can get. Carmelo is four years old and, in fact, two days prior to the devastating news for my family, his mother Roxanne, found out Carmelo was going to be a big brother. Therefore, my cousin Erick, who is far more defined as a brother to me, is standing strong but has a lot on his plate between providing for his family and handling most of Carmelo's needs while also making sure his wife and little one on the way are managing their stress levels and staying healthy. We have been helping as much as possible because as a pregnant mother, Roxanne, cannot handle any of Carmelo’s bodily fluids as they now have chemo in them.
This Monday, February 13th, Carmelo went into surgery to receive his IV port and also undergo a spinal tap procedure. Unfortunately, they found the leukemia cells in his spinal fluid which indicates they are most likely in his cerebral fluid; therefore, they injected chemo into his spine during the procedure. He also got his first IV dose of chemo and a steroid known to melt away these specific cancer cells that night after surgery. All he wanted was a toy and some bacon after such a long day and that’s exactly what he got! Three days later, February 16th, he had to undergo yet a second spinal tap and chemo injection procedure to try and tackle more of the leukemia blood cells found in his spinal fluid. He did well and hopefully he will be released soon to at least be at home between all his future and frequent hospital visits.
Through it all, he has been in high spirits and has been playing with family day and night whenever he is up to it. We are lucky to have a supportive family that shows him nothing but love. After meeting with a social worker this week, Erick and Roxanne were presented with the rough estimate of $25,000 in medical expenses. We will hopefully get a more precise estimate soon and update everyone as this journey unfolds.
As a thank you for any donation, we will be sending out #MeloStrong silicone bracelets. Please include your email and home address if you are interested in receiving one of Melo’s bracelets that will also raise awareness of childhood cancer.
As always, please continue to keep #MyHeroMelo in your prayers for God is providing all the strength needed for Carmelo and his, now, family of 4 to overcome such a monumental adversity of beating childhood leukemia.
From Carmelo & I
Friends and family, Carmelo has had a blessed past 2 months despite some bumps in the road. Carmelo’s little baby brother, Roman, came into our lives earlier than anticipated in October! Roman was here just in time for our long awaited Light the Night event. Light the Night by LLS, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, was a huge success for our “TEAM CARMELO” and all those who dedicated their Saturday evening at Piedmont Park to provide light to the darkness of cancer. Thank you to all our loved ones who took time out of their busy schedules to support Carmelo. Carmelo was a trooper and had a blast despite the fact he had just undergone an intense Chemo session less than 24 hours before the event. Carmelo was just one of the stars of the night that held up his “survivor” lantern proud and high up from off of daddy’s shoulders! Yes, Carmelo was able to walk with a white lantern because he is officially in MAINTENANCE! Chemo sessions will continue until 2020; however, our family was in awe at the scarce amount of white lanterns we saw…Carmelo is our hero and we are truly blessed. Below are some photos of TEAM CARMELO at Light the Night.
Unfortunately, Carmelo recently has lost mobility in his right leg and currently uses his dad’s help or crawling to get around. He is still as happy as could be even with all his toys surrounding him on the floor and various visitors that come to play with him. His parents do an incredible job of keeping him entertained no matter the circumstances.
Until the next update and with lots of love,
Carmelo & I
A couple weeks ago, Carmelo’s blood test results indicated he needed a blood transfusion which helped him tremendously. Whether it is weak legs, or feeling under the weather with aches and pains, Carmelo’s remembers his slogan:
“What is pain?” asks his parent’s Roxy and Erick.
“Pain is weakness leaving the body,” responds Carmelo.
His parents have truly gained all of our family’s admiration for the tremendous job they are doing taking care of Carmelo and catering to his every need but also preparing for the new addition to the family. It was recently announced that Carmelo will have a baby brother! Roxy is now 8 months pregnant and we all cannot wait to meet our newest addition to the Collazo troop. Yet another soldier to support Carmelo, or more like yet another human being that looks up to Carmelo and admires him just like all of us.
In July, Carmelo had his first round of Chemo shots at home and as of August 7th, day 57 of Carmelo’s delayed intensification block, Carmelo surpassed doctor expectations of possibly being admitted to the hospital due the his immune deficiency and the likehood of catching any type of infection! Carmelo started his next block on August 9th but as his body recovered from his previous past session, he was also able to prepare for his FIRST DAY OF PRE-K, a pure blessing, just this past Tuesday, Sept 5th! He may have started a little late due to his chemo session this summer but he was as happy as could be to be able to go to school. Carmelo’s chemotherapy blocks will continue in order to ensure there is no relapse of Leukemia but we are thankful he is able to enjoy PRE-K.
Once again, we thank you all for your support. Until the next update, we will leave you with just a couple more of Carmelo’s most priceless, proud, and sweetest moments.
Carmelo & I