Jacksonville, FL — Cristian Bernal may be 10-years-old, but he has the compassion of an adult, perhaps because he has faced challenges that forced him to grow up fast.
Last July, Cristian was feeling bad during a family trip to St. Augustine, he had trouble catching his breath. His mom, Jennifer, thought he may be having an asthma attack. But what doctors discovered was far worse, a mass on top of his chest cavity.
“I was scared and I had no idea what was going to happen to me. I didn’t know if I was going to live or if I was going to pass”, Cristian said.
The diagnosis was Leukemia. One of his lungs was completely flat. Doctors treated the mass with steroids, and it was gone in eight days.
FULL STORY: Listen to Cristian Bernal's cancer journey
Cristian began chemotherapy, but he has had multiple setbacks along the way, the most serious coming in March when he had to be hospitalized for 74 days with sepsis.
The family needed financial assistance and reached out to the Child Cancer Fund.
“They’ve helped with our home bills, so if we need help with the lights or a car note, stuff like that they’ve assisted with. It’s one less thing we have to worry about”, Jennifer said.
The Child Cancer Fund has also helped pay for Cristian to be tutored so that he could keep his grades up.
Cristian is looking forward to celebrating the next big milestone, maintenance. He wants to be an actor when he grows up, and his Mom says that’s a perfect fit for his personality.