Just keep going…

Name: Brittany
Age at diagnosis: 13 years
Diagnosis: Acute myeloid leukemia
How Family Reach helped: Grant to assist with a mortgage payment

At 13 years old, Brittany Santana was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a form of leukemia that is most commonly found in older adults. Brittany’s intense treatment was beset with many complications and long inpatient hospital stays. It didn’t take long for the Santana family to feel the financial impact of the cancer. Neither Diana nor her husband Armando were able to work during the first month of Brittany’s treatment, which included 4 cycles of chemotherapy. The loss of income was significant. Both Diana and Armando are branch officers at an insurance company and depend on commission for a stable salary. The family was immensely grateful to receive a grant from Family Reach to assist with a mortgage payment. “It was a big relief because you can let these bills pile up. You have a period of I would say 6 months where you can ‘borrow from Peter to pay Paul,’ ” said Diana. “Little by little it affects you financially.”

To add to their burden, a house fire displaced the Santanas a month after Brittany was discharged from the hospital. Though it all, Diana maintained a healthy perspective. “There’s somebody out there that has it a lot worse than we do… I just have to keep going and keep going and that’s what we do. I really believe that your attitude has to stay positive,” said Diana.

After a hospitalization due to a very low white blood cell count, Brittany was declared in remission and is doing well. An athlete, Brittany looks forward to playing softball and basketball for the high school next school year. Her great sense of humor has helped see her through the long hospital stays and rough times when she was very sick. During her treatment, her family grew closer and gained perspective on what matters most in life. “So many things have happened. We feel like—what’s next? Bring it on. We can take it!” laughed her mother, Diana.

Last update: July 31, 2014