Family Stories

From Cancer Patient to Caring Big Brother

Six-year-old Josue’s path to Ronald McDonald House® of Memphis began in August 2013 when he was taken to a family pediatrician near his home in Puerto Rico because of strong headaches that woke him at all hours of the night. 

Unable to find any other cause, the doctors prescribed Josue sinus medication, but the headaches persisted. 

A CT scan was done, but doctors couldn’t find a cause for the headaches and prescribed stronger sinus medication. Days later, his stepdad Asmael and mother Andre rushed him to the emergency room when the headaches became too intense. Finally, an MRI revealed a malignant brain tumor as the cause of young Josue’s headaches.

Following four failed attempts to remove the tumor, it became clear that his best option for treatment would be in Memphis and within just a few days the family set off, leaving everything behind in Puerto Rico - including their jobs and home - in hope of a cure at St. Jude. 

They’ve enjoyed the hospitality they’ve received at Ronald McDonald House®. “It’s like being in heaven being here at Ronald McDonald House of Memphis,” Asmael said. “We’re treated so well.”  

Just as the family was getting adjusted to being in Memphis for Josue’s treatment, they received another shock. Andre went into premature labor with the couple’s second child.

Baby William spent weeks in the NICU at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Although it was a rough time for the family, going back and forth between two hospitals, baby William was released from the hospital in good health and the family is together under one roof.

William is a dream come true for Josue; he’s always wanted a little brother or sister of his own. When he’s not helping take care of William, Josue enjoys exploring Ronald McDonald House, eating with his family, and meeting new people. 

“He’s curious about everything. He just wants to see everything there is to see. Josue loves participating in the activities happening at Ronald McDonald House and hopes to become better at arts and crafts,” Asmael said. “He likes Memphis better than Puerto Rico. He’s the happiest he’s ever been.”  

Josue and his family are focusing on staying positive and optimistic throughout his treatment. “It’s been a pleasure staying at Ronald McDonald House,” Asmael says. “We want everyone to know there’s always a second chance.” 

Posted by John Parie at 11:33 AM
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