Marine Staff Sergeant Luis: “I just breathed a huge sigh of relief and thanked God for this program”

The story of Marine Staff Sergeant Luis sounds like something out of a novel or a movie.

“Luis was born in a small town in Bolivia, South America,” says his wife, Nancy. “He came to the U.S. at just five years old not knowing a word of English. Later on, Luis and his parents moved to Virginia, where he attended middle school and high school. Luis graduated in 2003 and joined the Marine Corps that same year.”

Born: 
Bolivia, South America
Enlisted:
September 2003
Deployed:
Iraq (2005-2006) 
Married to:
Nancy (since 2009)

Nancy and Luis met in the fall of 2007, married in 2009 and welcomed their first child, Luis Jr., into the world on September 11, 2011.

Then, in May 2016, the couple faced one of the most difficult situations imaginable, the kind of situation all parents fear.

“We were heartbroken to learn that a tumor the size of a plum was growing just below our son’s brain,” Nancy said. “He was diagnosed with medulloblastoma and was rushed to the hospital the same day it was found. That night, he underwent a procedure to have it removed and slowly but surely recuperated from the surgery.”

After surgery, Luis Jr. — Luis and Nancy typically call him “Little Luis” — underwent six weeks of radiation. Chemotherapy followed, and was completed in September 2016.  Along the way, the Semper Fi Fund has provided assistance through its Family Support Program.

“Our minds are more at ease and the stress levels are lower with Semper Fi Fund’s support. “It also made it easier with traveling expenses. The Naval Hospital is about an hour drive each way and it was becoming a financial burden.”

As parents of a three-year-old child diagnosed with brain cancer, Luis and Nancy feel that they don’t have the luxury to sit back and dwell on it. “We just have to do what we must do to get better, because there is no other choice,” Nancy says. “Everything changed with just one CT scan.”

He’s such a great big brother and it’s interesting to see how protective he is of his little sister.”

“To think that there are so many individuals who would be willing to donate their resources for a cause and that we benefit from that, we’re just so thankful,” she added. “The first time we received our grant, I just breathed a huge sigh of relief and thanked God for this program.”