Dear Mark & Christmas Wish Listeners,
When I first met Roberto and his family on our Pediatric Oncology floor a year ago, it was because his gums would not stop bleeding after a dental procedure.At the time, he was working full time and attending a special high school program in the evenings.Not only was he contributing to the financial stability of his home, he was sending money to his biological mother who does not live with them.In an effort to save money, Roberto did not have health insurance so every day he spent in the hospital created more and more anxiety not only about family finances.
Although the team at the hospital was able to help him obtain health coverage we were not able to alleviate his concern regarding diagnosis.Last November, Roberto was diagnosed with B cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.The course of his treatment over this last year has been exceptionally complicated.Roberto has endured multiple delays and inpatient stays, but you would never ever know it by talking to him.
Roberto expresses such gratitude for the care that the nurses and the doctors provide, even when we can tell he feels terrible. He falls into that super special category of an Adolescent and Young Adult patient.He is not a precocious little boy, but neither is he a completely independent adult, which can often times leave Roberto in an awkward “in between” space.
I have watched him try to comfort and encourage a patient that was struggling with his fear of needles; I have seen him work diligently to connect with a little boy who is upset about having to be in the clinic.Roberto has acted with this loving kindness with no intention of ever being noticed or thanked.He simply leads with his heart.More than one member of our team has commented on how working with Roberto creates an almost contagious joy.
Roberto lives with his father, Martin and his stepmother.When I asked him what he likes to do for fun he gave a one word answer:fishing!You see, Mark, the pandemic coupled with a compromised immune system due to chemotherapy, has forced Roberto to stay pretty much isolated.Fishing is something he and his Father can do together for fun without coming into contact with a lot of other people.No surprise, Bass Pro Shop is his favorite store.
When I asked Roberto what gifts he might like, he absolutely refused to be specific but said he would be grateful for anything your listeners wanted to donate.Let me offer some insight.His goal is to one day become an electrician and own his own business.To accomplish that goal he will need to take some courses and a laptop would be SUPER helpful in that pursuit.And he loves the Olive Garden . Mark, thank you and your listeners at The River for taking a moment to hear about Roberto.I know my words will embarrass him a bit, but you could never meet a more life giving young man who happens to be fighting for his life.
Stephanie Mobley, LMSW
Dwaine & Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah
This year 98.7 The River has partnered with Southern Motors Honda, Gastroenterolody Consultants of Savanah, and Howell-Chase Heating & Airto make Christmas Wish possible.