Calvin Velazquez is another Danielle’s Gift recipient…He is a 7 year old little boy fighting leukemia. The following is aletter we received from Calvin’s mom describing Calvin and his story…So please continue to read to learn more about Calvin..Calvin Preston, the strong name says it all. The creative personality, witty sense of humor and mischievous smile all add up to an amazing loving, kind hearted 7 year old. Lover of the outdoors, sports fanatic, thriller seeker, animal lover, gentle & loving, all at once. Never one to pass up a puzzle, a challenge or a good read. T-Ball All-Star since age 4, always willing to lend a hand, share a thought or simply join in a practical joke. Never a dull time when Calvin is in sight.
About a year ago in Late November I noticed a bump in Calvin’s head. At first I wasn’t at all alarmed, if you know Calvin, you know he always, has bumps, bruises, scratches and cuts. Just a few weeks prior to noticing this bump he had broken his wrist while in school on the monkey bars, few months before that in June during his birthday celebration he ran inside the house, slipped and split his ear open, this ear incident was his fourth set of stiches! All beginning at the age of one! Yeah, we were celebrities at our local ER. He’s just that type of ‘try-it-all, not-afraid boy. Since noticing this bump on his head, I took him in to get checked, doctors at first dismissed it as nothing, then the spot continued to grow and hair wasn’t growing on this spot, doctors then said it was alopecia, then the bump continued to grow, weeks turned into months we saw skin doctors, skin specialist, finally we were sent to head doctors and specialist, cat scan showed the bump was right under his skin and above his skull and even though to our eyes the bump looked like the size of a dollar coin, cat scan showed it was actually as big as an adult hand. Only god knows when it began growing. He soon went in for surgery and a biopsy was taken, April 30th 2013 both Calvin & I went in for results, as soon as doctor stepped in the room and asked me to please have a seat, I knew something was not ok. I declined the seat and told myself that regardless of what it was I was going to not only deal with it, but fight it no matter what. He tells me cancer cells have been found and he is positive for Acute Leukemia (ALL). That’s all I heard, everything was silent after that, I could see his lips moving and his face and hand gestures. But that was all I took in. A few minutes later he gave me my next steps and off Calvin and I went into the elevator that we had only an hour earlier stepped in with literately a different life. Calvin had no idea what had just changed our lives, of course, all he knew was that he was hungry and wanted to eat. As we took that elevator back down to the first floor, I could feel Calvin covering me with stickers the nurse had just given him, but I felt nothing else. The strange numb feeling was new and odd, shocked, if you will. Calvin and I got home and I told him we had to get ready for out appt at 1pm. We only had 1 hour to get there, I got everything ready and before we walked out the door, I stepped into my restroom and as soon as the door closed behind me my body just collapsed to the floor. An overflow of hurt, pain and tears overcame me. Ten minutes later I picked myself up, looked at that mirror that I had just stared at that morning with a much too different outlook and off Calvin and I went, drove to our first of too many appointments.
Within a week Calvin began chemo, medication and a much too familiar routine as well. In June we were informed Calvin’s chemotherapy treatment needed to change, we were explained Calvin wasn’t responding as favorably as we wished. Cancer cells were not being tackled as needed for a recovery. Therefore, a more aggressive form of chemotherapy was introduced along with a search for a bone marrow donor.
We definitely had more than a few setbacks, especially when in August we were informed we had a donor match, everything was done and ready and our donor backed down or declined. Nonetheless September arrived with great news, we had a loving, generous giving donor, Calvin was admitted to City of Hope and underwent more chemo and full body radiation and soon after on September 17th he received his bone marrow transplant.
Since then we’ve had quiet a few ups and downs, we just don’t know how to give up or not be positive. Because regardless of the outcome, we know that everything will be ok and there is always someone else out there that is less fortunate than us. Calvin’s spunky personality and manage-the-situation kind of persona is still very much with him. He’s great at being tough, getting the work done and definitely speaking his opinionated mind. I have been very vocal and open to Calvin as far as what is going on, what his treatment is, procedures, plans, medication, etc and explaining it all to the best of my ability. He’s very bright, he definitely understands, he knows all his meds, he asks excellent question and is braver than anyone I’ve ever known. Currently we are back in City of Hope. We were recently released for a couple weeks, but have been back twice since then. We are at City of Hope today and will probably be here waiting for Santa in the coming days. Hoping for a trip back home soon and waiting until we are fully done with this all.
So there it is, a little insight on Mr Calvin. I know its a bit long, I loooooooove to write, I’ve been writing since I was 8, have never stopped and sometimes I just ramble on and on. I guess maybe it’s my form of therapy, much cheaper too I hope I didn’t take too much of your time!
Please accept a warm and much grateful hug and a huge thank you to you and the entire Danielle’s Gift team! Your help has definitely helped so immensely much, being a single parent and doing this primarily on my own has definitely deflated me, to you I can admit that. But Calvin sees nothing but drive, want, need, positivity and my silly faces each morning.
From the very warmest part of our hearts THANK YOU SO MUCH!!
Happy Wonderful Holidays to you all,
Mary & Calvin