American Cancer Society organizes rescue mission in Puerto Rico

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico. The American Cancer Society organized a flight Tuesday to rescue cancer patients in Puerto Rico.

The mission was a matter of life or death for 21-year-old Keishla Betancourt-Iricary.

“It’s either staying alive and fighting for my health, or staying behind on my island that I love and not being able to enjoy seeing my little brother grow up,” Betancourt-Iricary said.

Keishla Betancourt-Iricary pictured in brown shirt.

Betancourt-Iricary was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when she was 17 years old.

This is her third relapse in four years.

This was the first time Betancourt-Iricary had ever left Puerto Rico, but the mission offered a renewed sense of hope for her family.

“I’m trying to look at the island one last time, because I really don’t know when I’m gonna be back,” she said.

Although leaving her home was bittersweet, Betancourt-Iricary knows she’ll have a better chance to beat her cancer.

“I can finally get everything I need,” she said. “I can finally find out what’s wrong with me.”

The American Cancer Society has rescued 55 people from the island this far, with plans to rescue more as soon as possible.

Brendalise Menendez did not want to leave her home, but made a decision to leave her family in order to get better medical attention.

“It’s really not the best situation right now, even though doctors are trying their best,” Menendez said.

Five other patients and their families were on board during Tuesday’s rescue mission.

WINK News reporter Nicole Valdes traveled with the team to Puerto Rico:

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