#MissionMonday: Raylan’s Story
Since diagnosis, Raylan has endured an intensive treatment protocol including the removal of his eye, traditional chemotherapy, and specialized laser and cryo therapy of his eye. Many of these treatments must be completed under full sedation due to Raylan’s age and the location of his 11 tumors. The goal of this aggressive treatment is to save Raylan’s life and preserve some vision in his remaining eye.
The Montijos are a loving and close-knit family. Elizabeth and Doug are parents to Raylan and four older children, ages four, six, eight and ten. Cancer has been financially devastating for the entire family. To save Raylan’s life, Elizabeth and Doug have had to make many difficult decisions. These caring parents have left their jobs, relocated their family and have gone without basic necessities to ensure Raylan has the best chance against retinoblastoma.
Raylan’s social worker at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles contacted Family Reach right before Christmas last year. Using the last of their savings, Raylan’s parents replaced the tires on their only vehicle to ensure they could get to treatment. This left them with no money to pay their rent or provide a holiday for their children. The social worker wrote, “Raylan’s parents have put his illness as a priority and have been amazingly dedicated to his care, while trying to balance the needs of their entire family. Elizabeth and Doug are so deserving of support and would be truly grateful for any generosity around the holidays to help them to remain in their home and provide a holiday experience for their children.”
Family Reach granted significant support to Raylan’s family, providing funding for two months rent and a $1,000 gift card for clothing, food and gifts for the entire family at Christmas. This funding allowed Elizabeth and Doug to provide a safe place to live for their five children while they focused on Raylan’s battle to survive.
Elizabeth recently wrote to Family Reach, “Thank you for everything. Despite significant side effects from his cancer treatments, including permanent hearing and vision loss Raylan is a very happy and rambunctious two-year-old. He loves swimming and playing with cars and trucks. He loves his three brothers and his sister more than anything in this world. Through all of this, Raylan has kept a smile on his face and has taught our entire family how to be strong, take things one day at a time and live in the moment. He is our hero!”