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Young cancer patient gets surprise birthday party, trip to Disneyland

Nathan Ledezma Díaz, who has been an Adventist Health patience since he was 1 year old, recently celebrated his 6th birthday among old clinic friends and other community members who showed up to support Nathan and his family. The 6-year-old was recently diagnosed with a brainstem glioma, a very rare type of cancer that affects mostly children. He was surprised with a birthday party and a trip to Disney.
Nathan Ledezma Díaz, who has been an Adventist Health patience since he was 1 year old, recently celebrated his 6th birthday among old clinic friends and other community members who showed up to support Nathan and his family. The 6-year-old was recently diagnosed with a brainstem glioma, a very rare type of cancer that affects mostly children. He was surprised with a birthday party and a trip to Disney. Special to Vida en el Valle

Nathan Ledezma Díaz was recently diagnosed with a brainstem glioma, a very rare type of cancer that affects mostly children.

“We noticed that his left eye turned inward,” said Nathan’s mother, Marcela Díaz, a long-time Reedley resident.

A visit to his pediatrician, Dr. Marta Ima Atalla, at Adventist Health Medical Office-Reedley Children’s, turned into referrals to an ophthalmologist and then to an oncologist, who diagnosed Nathan.

Nathan’s condition is inoperable.

“He's always been very energetic, very social,” said Marcela Díaz of her second-oldest child. “Everywhere we used to go, he would always speak to people and tell them stories.”

According to Adventist communications specialist Alida Verduzco Silva, Nathan’s care team described him as a happy and bright child.

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Nathan Ledezma Díaz, (center) who has been an Adventist Health patience since he was 1 year old, recently celebrated his 6th birthday among old clinic friends and other community members who showed up to support Nathan and his family. The 6-year-old was recently diagnosed with a brainstem glioma, a very rare type of cancer that affects mostly children. He was surprised with a birthday party and a trip to Disney. Adventist Health Medical Office – Reedley Children’s Special to Vida en el Valle

“I’d never seen him unhappy,” said Atalla, “until one appointment.”

The moment the rural health clinic staff team learned of Nathan’s inoperable condition, they started discussing how to celebrate his life and make him happy as he prepared to enter treatment.

And Nathan, who has been an Adventist Health patience since he was 1 year old, recently celebrated his 6th birthday among old clinic friends and other community members who showed up in support.

The Reedley police and fire departments and Sequoia Safety Council joined Adventist Health in giving Nathan a surprise pizza party that included cake and opening presents.

Nathan, who is a fan of the popular children’s show ‘PAW Patrol,’ dreamed of becoming a police officer or a firefighter.

“We just wanted to make his day special. Seeing him smile gives us hope that no matter what you’re going through in life, as long as you smile, it makes a big difference,” said Pamela Staggs, a supervisor at the Reedley Police Department.

Staggs worked closely with community service officer Cyndee Trimble to bring together police officers, EMT personnel and firefighters for Nathan’s big day on May 30 at Adventist Health Reedley Medical Center a couple of days ahead of his actual birthday, which is June 12.

Nathan also received a trip to Disneyland as part of the surprise.

According to Verduzco Silva, Atalla and the clinic’s practice administrator, Robert Vásquez, knew that Nathan had never been to Disneyland, so they worked with Adventist Health’s administrative director of rural health clinics, Jéssica Rodríguez, who contacted other Adventist Health clinics in the Central Valley to make the trip to Disneyland a reality.

In just a matter of days, regional directors, practice administrators and other associates collected funds to buy Disneyland tickets for Nathan and his family and provided additional funds to help the family with travel and other expenses, according to Verduzco Silva.

“It was a good opportunity for us to fulfill our mission of living God’s love in a tangible way,” Rodríguez said.

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Nathan Ledezma Díaz, who has been an Adventist Health patience since he was 1 year old, was surprised with a birthday party and a trip to Disney. The 6-year-old was recently diagnosed with a brainstem glioma, a very rare type of cancer that affects mostly children. Pictured are Nathan with his dad, mom and two brothers. Adventist Health Medical Office – Reedley Children’s Special to Vida en el Valle

Nathan and his family – mom, dad, and his two brothers – traveled to Disneyland in early June before Nathan’s radiation treatment began and had an amazing time, according to Verduzco Silva.

“I felt very emotional and happy for him,” said Nathan’s mom Marcela of seeing so many people come together for her son.

Nathan’s treatment continues, and his inner strength keeps him smiling.

Marcela, who is caring for Nathan with the help of her family and the Reedley Children’s clinic team, said she is keeping hope alive.

Joven paciente de cáncer recibe fiesta sorpresa y viaje a Disneylandia

Nathan Ledezma Díaz recientemente fue diagnosticado con glioma de tronco encefálico, un raro tipo de cáncer que principalmente afecta a niños.

“Notamos que su ojo izquierdo se volteó hacia adentro,” dijo la madre de Nathan, Marcela Díaz, quien durante mucho tiempo ha vivido en Reedley.

Una visita a su pediatra, la Dra. Marta Ima Atalla, en Adventist Health Medical Office-Reedley Children’s, se convirtió en visitas a un oftalmólogo y luego a un oncólogo, que fue quien diagnosticó a Nathan.

La condición de Nathan es inoperable.

“Él siempre ha tenido mucha energía y es muy social,” dijo Marcela Díaz de su segundo hijo. “A todos lados que íbamos, él siempre hablaba con la gente y les contaba historias.”

De acuerdo con pláticas con la especialista de Adventist, Alida Verduzco Silva, el equipo de cuidado de Nathan lo describió como un niño inteligente y feliz.

“Yo nunca lo había visto sin estar feliz,” dijo Atalla, “hasta cierta cita.”

Al momento en que el personal de la clínica de salud se enteró de que la condición de Nathan es inoperable, ellos empezaron a hablar sobre cómo celebrar su vida y hacerlo feliz al mismo tiempo que se preparaba para iniciar tratamiento.

Y Nathan, quien ha sido paciente de Adventit Health desde que tenía 1 año, hace poco celebró sus 6 años de vida al lado de viejos amigos de la clínica y miembros de la comunidad que acudieron para apoyarlo.

Los departamentos de policía y bomberos de Reedley y Sequoia Safety Council se unieron a Adventist Health para darle a Nathan una fiesta sorpresa con pizza, pastel y regalos.

Nathan, quien es aficionado del popular programa infantil ‘PAW Patrol,’ soñaba on llegar a ser policía o bombero.

“Nosotros simplemente quisimos hacer su día especial. El verlo sonreír nos da esperanza de que no importa por qué cosas estemos pasando en la vida, mientras sonrías, eso marca una gran diferencia,” dijo Pamela Staggs, supervisora en el Departamento de Policía de Reedley.

Staggs trabajó muy de cerca con la oficial de servicio comunitario Cyndee Trimble para reunir a oficiales de policía, personal de primeros auxilios y bomberos para el gran día de Nathan el 30 de mayo en Adventist Health Reedley Medical Center un par de días antes de su cumpleaños, el 12 de junio.

Nathan también recibió un viaje a Disneylandia como parte de la sorpresa.

De acuerdo con Verduzco Silva, Atalla y el administrador de la clínica, Robert Vásquez, sabían que Nathan nunca había ido a Disneylandia, así que trabajaron con la directora administrativa de clínicas de salud rurales de Adventist Health, Jéssica Rodríguez, quien se comunicó con otras clínicas de Adventist Health en el Valle Central para hacer el viaje a Disneylandia una realidad.

En cuestión de días, los directores regionales, administradores de clínicas y otros asociados recolectaron fondos para comprar boletos para Disneylandia para Nathan y su familia y suministraron fondos adicionales para ayudar a la familia con los gastos de viaje y otros más, según informó Verduzco Silva.

“Fue una buena oportunidad para que nosotros cumpliéramos la misión de vivir el amor de Dios de una manera tangible,” dijo Rodríguez.

Nathan y su familia – mamá, papá, y sus dos hermanos – viajaron a Disneylandia a principios de junio antes de que empezaran los tratamientos de radiación de Nathan y la pasaron fabulosamente, según contó Verduzco Silva.

“A mí me dio mucho sentimiento y me sentí feliz por él,” dijo Marcela, la mamá de Nathan de ver a tanta gente unirse por su hijo.

El tratamiento de Nathan continua y su fortaleza interior le permite seguir sonriendo.

Marcela, quien cuida de Nathan con la ayuda de su familia y del equipo de la clínica Reedley Children, dijo que ella sigue manteniendo la esperanza viva.

María G. Ortiz-Briones: 559-441-6782, @TuValleTuSalud

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