A contagious zest for life

Name: Yan
Age at diagnosis: 6 months
Diagnosis: Atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor
How Family Reach helped: Grant for a mortgage payment

Yan Perez was only 6 months old when he was diagnosed with a rare type of aggressive brain tumor. Called an atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (ATRT), this severe form of cancer required immediate surgery. To complicate matters, during the initial operation, doctors discovered that Yan had not 1 tumor, but 3. The hospital in Florida where Yan’s family had taken him could provide no further solutions for them, but Yan’s mother, Yansen, wouldn’t stand for that.

Leaving the rest of the family in Florida, Yansen and Yan traveled to Tufts Floating Hospital for Children in Boston, where a renowned specialist in ATRT accepted Yan as his patient. Yan underwent several more procedures, and the family learned that chemotherapy would be a constant in Yan’s life.

For 4 1/2 years, Yan and Yansen stayed in Boston, where Yan received constant care and attention. The family was now split between 2 households—one in Florida and one in Boston, where Yansen’s full-time job was caring for Yan. Recognizing the financial stress on the family, a Tufts social worker contacted Family Reach, which was able to cover a mortgage payment.

Yan continues with his aggressive treatment, but his contagious zest for life never diminishes.

Last update: September 19, 2014