Mr. Valdes has been an educator for the past 17 years. He is an elementary teacher who does not go a single day without dancing or singing joyfully to the students at school. He does this not because it fulfills a lesson plan, but because he himself is a child at heart and loves to share his joy with those around him. In a profession where a positive interaction can change a child’s life, he fills our school with genuine, authentic, and refreshing bursts of energy and kindness.
Three years ago, Mr. Valdes was diagnosed with a laryngeal cancer that significantly affected his vocal cords and his ability to speak. Sadly, his joyful voice turned hoarse and weak. He underwent radiation therapy for months while continuing to teach, making sure his students finished the school year successfully. He used a microphone in class so that students could hear him properly, and even then, he continued teaching his lessons with a happy spirit, a joyful attitude, and dedication to their learning.
To the dismay of his family, students and colleagues, this school year, Mr. Valdes received the news that his cancer had returned. It was stage 3. This time, it was necessary to perform a surgery to remove it. On November 19, 2020, Mr. Valdes underwent a total Laryngectomy, which is the removal of Mr. Valdes’ voice box (the larynx and both vocal cords) in a surgery that took 8 hours. Additionally, a part of his thyroid gland was removed.
Mr. Valdes stay in the hospital is expected to last at least two weeks, one of which he will be in the ICU. Not only has the cancer taken a toll on Mr. Valdes health, but the Laryngectomy he underwent is a life-changing as well. From now on, Mr. Valdes will breathe through a stoma or hole in his neck. Additionally, he will need therapy to learn other ways of speaking.
Even under these harsh circumstances, Mr. Valdes continues to teach us life lessons. His spirit has risen beyond this illness in the most inspiring and admirable ways. His positive outlook and the love he is receiving from family and friends, students, and from all who know him will certainly play a key role in his recovery.
Mr. Valdes is at a decisive moment in his fight against cancer and he needs our help. He will be on medical leave during the months of his convalescence and the medical fees are beginning to accumulate. At this moment, we believe money should not be an additional concern!
We pray that your compassion and generosity will move you to help Mr. Valdes navigate through this time so that he can continue to wonderfully impact the lives of all those around him!
Mr. Valdes was discharged from ICU to a ward. Three of the four drainage tubes he had in his neck were removed. He also underwent a procedure to insert a feeding tube through his abdomen so he can be tube fed for the next two months. The doctors keep monitoring two sutures that were leaking a discharge and causing him a painful and constant cough. He is starting to stand up and walk around, every day a little bit farther. He is in good spirits but there is not yet a date to be discharged from the hospital. He and his family are deeply moved for all the love and support they are receiving from all of you. Thank you!
Mr. Valdes was discharged from the hospital last week and he is continuing his convalescence at home. On 12/3 he had his first post-surgery appointment with the doctor, and the wounds are clean and healing. The discharge from the sutures has lessen, and the cough episodes too. The doctor estimates that it would take about one more month for the internal and external wounds in Mr. Valdes' neck and chest to heal completely. Meanwhile, he will continue to be tube-fed. In approximately 4 more weeks, they will do a test to see if he is able to swallow, and if the result is positive, he will be able to start eating/drinking through the mouth again.
- Ediam Lugones
- Kelly Evans
- Paola Leon-Rodriguez
- Kamilla Amirbekova
Organizer and beneficiary
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