Thursday, August 9, 2012

Diagnosis switches dynamic for family known for giving - Denton Record Chronicle

For most of his life, Jesus “Jesse” Delarosa has been physically active. He has always been involved with his children’s soccer and band activities with his wife, Martha. Both would participate in community activities and help other people in need.

But on July 10, the Delarosas’ activities came to a stop.

That’s when Jesse Delarosa was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He was admitted to the St. Paul campus of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas on July 11. Since then, he has been undergoing extensive testing and treatment, including chemotherapy.

“We found out during a routine physical [examination],” Martha Delarosa said. “He had his blood drawn and we were told the following day he needed to come in. We never thought it was leukemia.”

For the Delarosas, the news was a shock since there was no family history of leukemia. Jesse Delarosa was diagnosed with thyroid cancer 19 years ago, but after surgery and radiation treatment, he was cured after five years, his wife said.

“He defeated cancer once, and now he has to do it again,” she said.

Martha Delarosa said doctors believe that although the cancer was removed using uranium iodine, some tissue remained and caused his leukemia.

Jesse Delarosa, 36, found out Wednesday that one of his three brothers is a match for a bone marrow transplant.

There is a 25 percent chance of a family member matching, according to the National Marrow Donor Program.

Often being on the giving end in difficult situations, the Delarosas have been learning instead to accept help from family and friends.

On Saturday, Martha Delarosa’s sister and friends of the couple will have a benefit fundraiser to help them cover treatment and hospital bills.

Martha Delarosa headed the fundraiser to help the family of 7-year-old Mia Sandoval last year. Sandoval died June 2, 2011, after a short battle with encephalitis, an irritation and inflammation of the brain.

“It was our first experience. My first thought was that my sister is going to need help,” said Priscilla Ibarra, one of Martha Delarosa’s sisters.

Another sister, Sandi Richardson, said her family feels strange asking for help.

“We were brought up to be giving and to do good to others, and we have been private with our own issues and never gone to the public,” Richardson said. “This is hard for her to accept.”

Michelle Reeves, a friend of the Delarosas, said she has always seen the Delarosas participate in their children’s activities and help out in the community.

“It is awesome that we now get to help him,” Reeves said.

About 50 people have come together the last couple of weeks to help out in the fundraiser that includes a garage sale, silent auction and a bake sale.

“Jesse has a servant heart and is willing to serve and help everyone,” Ibarra said. “During his time of need, it has been hard for him to allow people to bless him. He has a God-praying family behind him that is going to be with him every step of the way. All of these people have been placed here at the right place and at the right time to help him.”

Martha Delarosa, who works for Lord and Company Insurance Agents, has missed four weeks of work. She is now working from home so she can continue to assist her husband. Jesse Delarosa has worked for Adams Exterminating Co. for 12 years, and his employer has been very understanding, as well, they said.

He said he is not used to being home and being inactive. He has lost 35 pounds in the past month because of chemotherapy treatments and said daily activities have become more challenging.

“Taking a shower, walking, even eating has been difficult,” he said.

The Delarosas have been married for 18 years.

He said the main thing he wants from the community is prayers.

She said he has five four-day treatments coming up before he is able to get a bone marrow transplant.

“We have always been that kind of family, running to soccer games, choir and band practices and our world came to a halt,” Martha Delarosa said. “We are not used to this. But we are getting used to it â€" just being still. We are waiting for God to tell us what is next.”

KARINA RAMÍREZ can be reached at 940-566-6878. Her e-mail address is kramirez@dentonrc.com.

IF YOU GO

There will be a Carter BloodCare Drive from noon to 7 p.m. today and a benefit fundraiser from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Lee Elementary School, 800 Mack Place in Denton.

HOW TO HELP

Donations can be made at any DATCU location or by e-mailing mxreeves@verizon.net.

ON THE WEB

www.caringbridge.org/visit/jessedelarosaNTHFG

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