Helping Others Through Hope
Like most kids, Chloe Castillo couldn’t wait to tell her parents that she’d made straight A’s on her report card. But what makes Chloe’s academic achievement so remarkable is that she did it while undergoing treatment for cancer.
Over the next three months, Chloe’s symptoms came and went, but her mother, Joyce, continued to take her to the doctor just to be safe. The family pediatrician couldn’t determine why the 7-year-old continued to fall ill and would send them home without answers.
Then on Chloe’s eighth birthday, the pain returned along with shortness of breath. Joyce called the pediatrician who insisted she take Chloe to the emergency room. “We didn’t give it a second thought. We wanted Chloe at Texas Children’s Hospital,” said Anthony.
Once the Castillo family arrived at Texas Children’s, physicians began running tests to find out what was wrong with Chloe.
After taking an x-ray of Chloe’s chest cavity, the doctors found the cause of her terrible side pains—a grapefruit-sized mass tucked underneath her second rib.
“The tumor was pressing up against her lung,” he said. Hours later the family’s worst fears were confirmed—Chloe had cancer.
“I couldn’t believe that our baby was diagnosed with cancer on her eighth birthday. She didn’t even get to have her birthday party—instead she was fighting for her life.”
Chloe was immediately routed to Texas Children’s Cancer Center® where the mass in her chest was identified as Ewing’s sarcoma, a very rare solid tumor that is difficult to treat.
The Castillo family decided against surgery, opting instead for the less invasive radiation and chemotherapy treatments that could give her a better chance to live a normal life, they said.
Chloe grew very close to the doctors, nurses and other patient families since her first visit to the Cancer Center. She has just completed her eighth round of chemotherapy and has a total of six left. She hopes to complete all of her treatments sometime next April.
After months of treatment, Anthony reports that Chloe is close to ringing the bell signaling the end of her radiation treatment at the Cancer Center.
“She’s going to ring the bell pretty hard, and if she doesn’t then I will,” he said.
Recently, Chloe and her family were overjoyed to learn that the once grapefruit-sized tumor is now the size of a walnut.
“I can’t say enough about the people at Texas Children’s. Both the patients and the staff have made a big impact on us and have given us so much moral support during this time.”
Inspired by his daughter’s courage, Anthony has decided to give back to other families facing cancer. “Helping to raise awareness and funding for Texas Children’s Cancer Center just might be our calling because I believe that no child should have to go through this,” he said.
“Chloe is definitely my hero. All of the kids at Texas Children’s are so strong and resilient—they are beating odds they never would beat if it weren’t for Texas Children’s Hospital.”