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Meet Luis: 2018 Family Advocacy Day Champion

Children's_Health_Children's_Medical_Center_Dallas_Collazo__Luis.jpgLuis is participating at 2018 Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day from June 26-27 in Washington, D.C. During the event, Luis will share information about his health journey and the importance of children’s health care with members of Congress. Below is his story.

When he was just a few months old, Luis’ general pediatrician suggested he see a specialist to get a quick diagnosis for an issue he was having — that quick diagnosis saved his life. Today, at 12 years old, Luis is already a published author and committed advocate. But just after that referral, he was a 7-month-old fighting for his life.

Luis was referred to an ophthalmologist who requested an MRI and then referred him to the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders — he was diagnosed with unilateral retinoblastoma, a rare cancer of the retina.

The prognosis was good — the cancer was caught before it had spread. But to ensure his healthy future, doctors were forced to remove the affected eye. Following the surgery, Luis underwent four rounds of chemotherapy and speech therapy.

When he finished treatment, this young fighter was enrolled in the ACE Clinic, the After the Cancer Experience Program at Children's Health - Children's Medical Center Dallas.

Luis relies on the Medicaid program to help keep him healthy; it’s there for any special needs he might have as a cancer-survivor, and also for the normal preventative checkups all kids need. Thankfully, it has been more than 10 years since Luis’ last chemotherapy treatment!

Today, he has a strong support system of family, teachers and friends. But even after beating cancer, things haven’t always been easy. During his first grade year, Luis was bullied by classmates about his glass eye.

Instead of letting it get him down, however, he used those experiences as inspiration to write his first published book! “Todd the Odd Boy” is a story about bullying, forgiveness and redemption. For Luis, writing serves as a form of healing and positive expression — he plans to write additional books.

When he isn’t writing professionally, Luis is an avid reader of fiction, old encyclopedias, dictionaries and scientists' biographies. Lately, he likes to read fiction and comic books, too. This young man who has already been through so much sees the positive in every situation he encounters no matter how challenging it might be.

Luis' noble heart and attitude towards life are inspiring to everyone who has the pleasure to meet him. A passionate advocate who wants to help other children like him, Luis also dreams of a career as a scientist to work on discovering cures for cancer. To this day, Luis continues to dream big and make a positive impact on all those around him.

Join us in welcoming Luis to 2018 Family Advocacy Day!


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