Meet Richie: 2021 Family Advocacy Week Champion

Richie is participating in Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Week from June 13-18, 2021. Through this special event, Richie and his family will share information about his health journey, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital’s role in providing Richie with necessary health care services, and why the public and our elected officials must invest in the future of patients like Richie.

When Richie was 4, he had some pain in his leg. Following a doctor’s appointment, he was sent to the ER and transferred to the main campus of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.

“We thought it was growing pains,” says Weena, Richie’s mother. “The next day the doctor told us that Richie had acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).”

Richie stayed in the hospital for eight days to start treatment. Richie’s mother stayed with him, while his dad stayed at home with his sister. The separation and increased isolation to protect Richie’s immune system was tough on the family, according to Weena.

“Everything came to a halt,” says Weena. “We were unsure about life, jobs and everything else. We just had to focus on our child and getting him better.”

Two days after diagnosis, Richie started treatment and received chemotherapy every week. Currently, Richie is receiving routine maintenance care and doing better.

“We had lots of ER visits and had several procedures,” says Weena. “We still have a way to go but he is feeling ok right now with some minor side effects.”

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