‘Valley Children’s is Waiting for You’

 

The anxious Torres family thought they were lost at first while heading 70 miles south from Ceres toward Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera. Suddenly, the large, colorful campus set in an open field emerged on the horizon.

“It looked like Disneyland!” Gerardo Torres recalled.

The inspiring sight helped calm their fears. Gerardo and his wife, Lydia, had just learned from their pediatrician that their joyful, 13-month-old daughter, Beatriz, had a significant mass on her right kidney, and “Valley Children’s is waiting for you.”

The mass turned out to be Wilms’ tumor, a rare kidney cancer that makes up about 6 percent of all childhood cancers. The Torres’s quickly realized the skilled team inside Valley Children’s reflected their same positive first impression.  

“When you hear the ‘c’ word, your heart sinks,” Lydia said, remembering how pediatric hematologist/oncologist Dr. J. Daniel Ozeran compassionately delivered the news. “You think this can’t be happening. You want to know you’re in the best place – and we did.”

“Everyone is caring and confident; they listen,” Beatriz’s grandparents, Sal and Mary Prieto, agreed.

With prompt and aggressive treatment, Wilms’ tumor is successfully treated in most children. Our pediatric intensive care specialists controlled Beatriz’s dangerously high blood pressure due to her condition before one of our pediatric surgeons surgically removed the mass. After surgery, Beatriz began a comprehensive, five-month treatment plan of chemotherapy and radiation to kill any remaining cancerous tumor cells.

“Beatriz is an old soul; she never cried and always smiled,” Lydia said, as Beatriz laughed and twirled in a pink tutu at their home. “She gave us our strength,” Gerardo added.

Now age 3, Beatriz undergoes regular imaging scans and checkups with cancer and nephrology specialists all in the same day at Valley Children's to ensure she remains healthy – a task an oncology nurse navigator helps coordinate. “We know Valley Children’s is always here for us,” Lydia said, as Beatriz hugged her lovingly. “That means everything.”