My uncle Pablo is a teacher at Sunset Elementary School who has dedicated his life to helping children with learning disabilities and educating young minds. He is a family man, a devoted husband to the love of his life whom he’s been married to for 43 years, a loving father to his son who serves in the U.S. Air Force, and an amazing grandfather.
In July 2017, our family was caught by surprise when he was diagnosed with sarcoma of the thyroid gland, a rare form of thyroid cancer. It is so rare that it was difficult for doctors to detect and accounts for less than 1% of all thyroid cancers. He was urgently placed on an intense chemotherapy regimen and, most recently, a clinical trial. The plan was to shrink the tumor with chemotherapy first and then remove the mass with surgery. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and in just a few days, he will undergo an extensive surgery and continue his chemotherapy regimen.
Since his diagnosis, he hasn’t been able to work and his medical bills have already totaled over $7,000 that insurance won’t cover. Throughout all of this, my uncle has maintained a positive attitude to fight this disease. He hasn’t complained once and somehow finds the strength to continue to help others in need. I know the hardest part for him is not being able to teach anymore. He loves his students and has had a tremendous impact on their lives. Always raising awareness to the importance of giving to disadvantaged others before serving yourself, he would oftentimes go out of his way to provide his students with school supplies, toys or shoes during the holidays; and lend his time after school to engage at-risk kids that would otherwise be on the streets.
He is truly a special person that gives from his heart, no questions asked, and the first to lend a hand whichever way he can. If possible, any donations, words of encouragement, or simply sharing his story during this difficult time would be greatly appreciated.
Celia Zapata and family
(On behalf of Pablo and Zoia Gonzalez)
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