Vaasili was diagnosed with high risk ALL (leukemia) in 12/10. Our whole family lived in Samoa when he was diagnosed. An interpreter encouraged us to come to the United States to be treated. The interpreter did not help us other than suggest we come. So all of us, mom, dad, an older sister, and Vaasili flew to California. We came with the clothes on our backs. We ended up staying with people we sat by on the plane!
Vaasili was hospitalized in Long Beach for about four months. He had complications with a fungal disease on top of his cancer. While there, I had many health issues including heart palpitations and asthma. I ended up in the emergency room on several occasions while Vaasili was in-patient.
We finally decided to move to another state where we had friends and relatives. I speak English, but dad speaks mainly Samoan. Communication has been very difficult. We lived with relatives for the first few weeks while in our new city, but then were encouraged to get our own place.
Dad has been at the hospital constantly with our son. Vaasili has been in patient for the majority of time we have been treating him. He has had significant complications with his treatment and has lost a lot of cognitive functioning and has had to re-learn to walk, talk etc. The social workers said it has been one of the more devastating cases they have worked with in terms of complications:
“So mom is unable to work because of the above-stated health issues. Dad has been caring for both of them and so has not been able to work. It is a very difficult situation. We have parents that have given up their lives in order to get their son good medical care and give him the best possible chances of cure.”
Reliance Children’s Foundation was able to come in and help this family with their bills while they concentrated on Vaasili. Sadly, Vaasili did pass away. He was a wonderful boy, and his family feels so much love for him.