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Mr G's Cancer Treatment

$7,130 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 62 people in 16 months
Created January 7, 2018
January 10, 2018 The trumpet rings out its clear, shimmering call. The guitarron pulses its steady, throaty beat. Voices – vibrato lilting, joy apparent – sing a melody that has been sung for over a century. This is mariachi, the splendor of a living heritage – beautiful to listen to, dance to and enjoy. But, the greatest beauty of all?  This is mariachi performed by children and teens from various schools in Santa Fe, New Mexico.   Ernie Gonzales, a retired teacher, principal and current mariachi instructor has taught hundreds of students to play and sing mariachi music since the mid 1980’s when he started a mariachi group at Santa Fe Vo Tech.  When he became a Principal, he instructed/directed the Kaune Elementary Mariachi and he currently instructs/directs Mariachi Conquistador at Milagro Middle School.  Many of his former students have started their own mariachi groups or joined existing groups throughout New Mexico.  Students credit the mariachi programs with giving them pride in culture and identity and for providing encouragement to continue their education.   Over the summer of 2017, Mr. Gonzales heard the three worst words any individual can hear, “You have Cancer”.  He was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus and began seeking treatment options. He eventually was accepted into a clinical trial at MD Anderson in Houston, TX, and began his treatments in early October. This is his best hope for long-term survival. But, he must travel to Houston every two weeks for these potentially life saving treatments. The Gonzales’ receive some assistance with travel, lodging, and meal expenses, but the true costs far exceed the assistance received and the ability of the Gonzales’ to cover with their retirement income. There is also an after-insurance amount due for each treatment
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IN GRATITUDE

 

Thank you to everyone who has supported Ernie Gonzales’ participation in the clinical trial at MD Anderson for his stage 4 esophageal cancer. After 39 trips to Houston and 36 treatments (so far), the tumors have shrunk, and he is feeling pretty good. He eats better, is physically active, and continues to teach mariachi music in the after school program. We could not have made the necessary trips every two weeks without the assistance we have received from so many of you. We are eternally grateful for your love, prayers, and support. ¡Gracias a todos!

—Ernest and Anne Gonzales
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My parents have good news and good news . . . and better news! We'll start with the better news. Thanks to the immunotherapy (Nivolumab) regime that my dad Ernie is receiving as part of the clinical trial at MD Anderson in Houston, all the tumors have shrunk significantly. His lab work is good, and his platelets are back in the normal range (albeit on the low end). Although he continues to be challenged by some nagging side effects, his weight is stable, and he is mobile, active and generally enjoying life! Other good news is that the drug company sponsoring the trial has made one payment (so far) to reimburse my folks for some of the travel expenses (airfare, hotel, meals, etc.) While it wasn't much, it's a hopeful sign that more is coming to help cover future travel costs. And, they have flown so much on SW Airlines, they have earned a free "Companion Pass". When they pay full price for dad's airfare, Mom can fly for $5.60 each way for the rest of 2019. They continue to be eligible for an occasional Angel Flight mission, Houston Ground Angels, and reduced hotel rates. They have made 35 trips to Houston so far, and Dad will continue to have appointments every two weeks through at least October 2019. Dad's heart issues are also under control currently, and life is as good as it can be. And, so, YAY!!! All this good news is a direct result of all the support they have received; and Dad and Mom are so very grateful l to everyone for the prayers, love, and financial assistance. THANK YOU!
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... and we cannot forget the tremendous impact that the American Cancer Society has had in our lives for the past year as well. We are thankful for our blessings!
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$7,130 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 62 people in 16 months
Created January 7, 2018
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