It was indescribably painful to watch as they cut into his chest and create a hole where the infection had been. He was lacking the white blood cells necessary to fight off the infection because his medulla was not functioning normally.
Four year old Gerardo loves pancakes, Elmo and Cookie Monster, remote control trucks, and nerf guns. He has an adorable voice and when he laughs, it’s the belly laugh that makes everyone else laugh around him. He has spent almost half his life at Brent’s Place.
In May 2013 at the age of 2, Gerardo was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia, a disease in which the bone marrow, and the blood stem cells that reside there, are damaged. It wasn’t until he developed an infection that his parents realized how serious his condition was. His mom, Ana, explained “it was indescribably painful to watch as they cut into his chest and create a hole where the infection had been. He was lacking the white blood cells necessary to fight off the infection because his medulla was not functioning normally.” He received blood transfusions for over a month in his home town until the infection finally began to heal. However, each transfusion caused a great deal of pain because the cells they were donating caused reactions such as fevers, chills, bone pain, and other symptoms. Although hopeful that the transfusions would help to heal him, the doctors weren’t able to restore his medulla’s normal function and he was sent from Albuquerque to Children’s Hospital Colorado to undergo a bone marrow transfusion.
Gerardo and his mom moved into Brent’s Place in December 2013. He bravely went through two bone marrow transplants (his first transplant failed) and spent seven long months in the hospital. He got out of the hospital just in time to celebrate his 3rd birthday at Brent’s Place. “We arrived at Brent’s Place and he became happier than I had ever seen him. I think he felt free after so much time in his hospital room,” his Mom explained. Since moving into Brent’s Place, Gerardo has flourished. He enthusiastically plays with the staff and other kids, and loves participating in all of the on-site programs (most specifically music class, arts and crafts, and game night). He adores his older sister, Samantha (9 years old), and brother, Alexis (18 years old) who have also lived at Brent’s Place during much of his recovery. Both Samantha and Alexis attend school and also participate in the many programs that Brent’s Place offers. Gerardo’s family is still living at Brent’s Place and has lived here longer than any other family. Ana, is so thankful to the amazing doctors and nurses who worked so hard to help him and to Brent’s Place, and all of the amazing volunteers and donors. “We are here fighting together because of them,” says Ana, “thank you so much, you do amazing work!”