A changed world, a new focus

Name: Lucas
Age at diagnosis: 2 years
Diagnosis: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
How Family Reach helped: Grant to cover rent

At just 2 years old, Lucas Cervone was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. At first, Lucas’ parents, Anthony and Rina, both planned to continue working during Lucas’ treatment. Anthony planned to work from the hospital, managing Lucas’ care during the day while his wife went to work. Rina would then cover nights with Lucas at the hospital. However, they quickly realized that this approach was not feasible. As Anthony reflected, “That was our plan, but given the situations that we don’t have any control over and the things that come up being inpatient, I’m not able to focus my time on work and Rina is not able to focus her time on work and that costs us a ton of money!” That’s where Family Reach was able to help. In collaboration with a pediatric oncology social worker from the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Family Reach was able to assist the Cervone family with a grant to cover rent. “It was an amazing relief for both of us when she (hospital social worker) told us that Family Reach was willing to cover all of the rent,” exclaimed both parents.

Both Anthony and Rina have developed a greater appreciation for life as a result of their experiences. “I think sometimes through this we’ve learned that you have to take it one minute at a time, one hour at a time,” said Anthony. “It definitely teaches you to appreciate what is there.” Lucas’ courage also sustains Anthony and Rina throughout this difficult time. “He’s pretty amazing for such a little one,” said Anthony proudly. “I think it might benefit him for being so young. He’s definitely teaching us to appreciate life. Even when we’re sad and crying, he still manages to pull a smile out and be happy. This is the only life that he knows.”

Even Lucas’ brother, Franco, seems to have gained a new perspective. Last year, when Lucas was feeling ill on Christmas Eve, his parents packed up the Christmas gifts and the whole family spent Christmas Day in the hospital. At the end of the day, Franco said, “It’s OK that we had Christmas at the hospital because we were all together.”

Last update: July 31, 2014