It was just 12 days after his second birthday that Elijah Duran was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
Leukemia is a common childhood cancer of the white blood cells that affects bone marrow, leading to symptoms that typically include pale skin, bleeding, bruising, and serious infection. In Elijah’s case, a combination of flu-like symptoms, difficulty breathing and blue lips and fingertips led to his diagnosis.
Parents Alfredo and Noemi Duran had only recently moved to Texas for work, but after Elijah was diagnosed with ALL they decided to return to the Central Coast to be near family. They settled in Port Hueneme and chose to have Elijah treated at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. They opted for Cottage because it’s a hospital with high-quality pediatric oncology services where caregivers know and remember their patients.
“We are so grateful that they are so caring and understanding,” says Elijah’s mom Noemi. “They treat us like a family.”
Elijah will continue receiving chemotherapy treatments every 10 days until he enters the maintenance phase of treatment. Between treatments he loves playing with his two older brothers, ages 5 and 4, whether it’s wrestling with them outside in the dirt or making music in their imaginary band. He also loves fire trucks, sirens, trains and all things Mickey Mouse.
Elijah’s treatment is expected to be completed in July of 2016. Until then, his parents remain thankful for the familiar faces they see at Cottage.
“That helps so much!” said Noemi. “It’s peace of mind.”