As a single mother with four disabled young adult children, Santa Clarita resident Deborah Nevarez is used to working hard.
But after she lost her job — just a couple of weeks after her 21-year-old son, Alexander, was diagnosed with classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma — she’s been working even harder to provide for him and the rest of her family.
“All that I have are my kids,” Nevarez said, adding that without any family support, friends to help, or a job, she’s been searching for any assistance she can get. “Day by day is a challenge at times, (but) I am trying to be strong for him.”
Alexander has always been a fighter, according to his mother, who noted that though he was diagnosed with autism at a young age, he never let it hold him back, singing in choir since elementary school.
It was his love of singing that led to his cancer diagnosis, as the side of his neck would start hurting when he sang.
A swollen neck led to a trip to urgent care, but doctors found nothing at first — until the lump grew.
Alexander turned 21 on July 29 and, just a few weeks later, received his cancer diagnosis. A bone marrow biopsy found that the cancer was stage 2 and fortunately hadn’t spread.
Meanwhile, Nevarez was terminated from her job and learned her insurance would expire at the end of September, just as Alexander was set to begin chemotherapy.
“I have been running into walls trying to get him covered by any insurance or Medi-Cal,” she said, adding that it’s been difficult to find money to pay for her rent, let alone his medical expenses. “I keep trying to keep him calm, but he is so worried about me not working and how we are going to pay for his treatments.”
While the diagnosis put his life on hold, Alexander has always been a hard worker and deserves a fighting chance, Nevarez added.
“He has been displaying such a positive attitude towards the whole thing,” she said. “I wish I could take the pain he is feeling away… With that said, I am hoping only to get through this with the strength that he has and with the positive vibes that he is giving off.”
To donate to Alexander’s treatment, visit gofund.me/1a638159.