6-year-old battles rare form of cancer, has to seek out-of-state treatment

Reporter: Val Simpson Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
leo lopez
Credit: WINK News

A 6-year-old boy is battling s rare form of cancer. His mother is trying everything she can think of to pay for the expensive out-of-state treatment that will give him a better chance at life.

Leo loves basketball and wants to be a superstar player like Lebron James. He also enjoys taking on his older brother in a classic game of one-on-one.

Lately, though, Leo has been battling an even tougher opponent: cancer.

Last May, Leo was diagnosed with a tumor in his abdomen that is known as DSRCT.

Ainalez Lopez is his mother. “I was devastated. I never thought that my child would ever get sick I was heartbroken…there’s no words,” Lopez said.

This is an extremely rare and aggressive cancer that spreads rapidly. Also, Only 200 cases have been reported since this disease was described in 1989.

“He’s full of energy and life and dreams and he dreams to grow-up and be a famous basketball player,” said Lopez.

Leo’s mom tells us there are a few facilities that offer treatment for this type of cancer and they’re all out-of-state.

“Besides standard chemotherapy, there’s nothing else Leo can get here in Florida,” she said.

According to experts, there is only a 15% survival rate for a 6-year-old with this condition. Doctors have suggested that Leo undergo a specialized procedure where they bathe the abdominal cavity with a solution at 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

This procedure is not covered by health insurance but it increases the chances of survival to 70%.

“If Leo gets the specialized treatment, there’s a possibility he will beat the odds,” Lopez said.

This is a possibility that would change Leo’s mom’s world.

And, meanwhile, in Leo’s world, he’ll continue to practice his free throws and getting ready for the day when he’s able to fulfill his dream of becoming a basketball superstar.

Leo will travel to North Carolina on March 23 to undergo this specialized procedure. Again, this procedure is not covered by insurance.

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