Cancer Survivor Gives Back to Clinic
MCALLEN – Children at the Vannie Cook Children’s Cancer Clinic are receiving a memorable Christmas thanks to some volunteers.
Christmas music filled the halls of the clinic. The children and their music bring smiles to everybody’s faces. They’re giving back to bring joy to others.
Cesar Ortiz, 19, and his little sister are doing the same, bringing snacks and giving back. It has become a personal mission for Ortiz.
The teen spent many hours getting chemo treatment at the McAllen clinic.
“They saved my life. I wouldn’t be here with without them,” he said.
Ortiz’s first visit to Vannie Cook was in the summer of 2010. He was diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia, ALL T-cell leukemia to be exact.
A trip to the dentist’s office that summer led to the discovery. He was just 12 years old.
“I didn’t really know what was going on. It was pretty hard to kinda take it all in that one night,” he recalled. “You hear cancer and kinda hits you hard, it’s bad.”
Ortiz’s doctors were optimistic. “They were telling me it would be fine if I took the treatments. Things would be well but it would be a long process,” he said.
Overwhelmed, a young boy looked to his father.
“After that I kinda took after my dad. It’s already there, no point of getting down about it, make the best of what you got,” he said.
Ortiz turned the situation and made a bold decision – cancer would not own him.
“I enjoyed every day and I didn’t get down about it,” he said.
Ortiz said he knew what he had to do.
“I always try to keep an upbeat attitude about it and take it day by day,” he said.
Ortiz has been cancer free for two years. He still visits the Vannie Cook Clinic.
“Every time I’m in town, I do my best to stop by and give something back,” he said.
He said his journey was difficult so he knows little gifts can make a big difference.
“It’s something I do out of my heart, giving back to the people who saved my life,” Ortiz said.