A new place to live

Name: Angel
Age at diagnosis: 2 years
Diagnosis: Stage 4 neuroblastoma
How Family Reach helped: Grant to pay the security deposit on an apartment

Just 1 month after Rodolfo “Angel” Sotelo turned 2 years old he was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma. Angel’s parents, Alma and Rodolfo, were devastated. “It was the worst news of my life,” Alma recalled.

Angel’s world quickly changed – days that were once spent playing outside became long hours in the hospital. “All of our dreams and future plans were put on hold,” said Alma. The family has made many sacrifices in their battle against cancer. After Angel’s diagnosis, Alma withdrew from college and Rodolfo began to miss many days of work as a landscaper. To this day, they spend hours commuting to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, a Family Reach partner hospital. The Sotelos frequently spend the entire day in the hospital only to face the daunting drive home. With ongoing financial pressures, Alma and Rodolfo are faced with challenging decisions around expenses. “The children are tired and hungry, and we often need to choose to pay for gas over food.”

To save money, the family was living with Angel’s grandparents, but space was tight. Alma realized they needed to find their own place to ensure Angel had a healthy environment. She approached her hospital social worker for assistance, who then turned to Family Reach for help. Family Reach quickly stepped in with a grant to pay the security deposit on an apartment for the family. Alma said, “We felt so relieved. Our own place is better and safer for our son.”

There were many ups and downs during the 4 years that Angel endured treatment. “Things were looking good again, and I was about to return to college, and Angel was about to return to school. And then they found another tumor,” Alma said. Now facing a third round of chemotherapy treatment, the family needed to continue to travel to Lucile Packard, but their car had a broken windshield and worn tires. Beyond paying for gas, they were unable to afford the car repairs. Family Reach was able to assist with car repairs, transportation expenses, and support at the holidays. Four year after his diagnosis, Angel lost his battle, but his warm spirit lives on and Family Reach continues to offer a supportive community for his family.

Last update: September 18, 2014