Video: Haitian Boy With Cancer and His Mother Talk About Their Trip to the U.S.
|Michael J. Mooney|
His mother said that she's pleased the boy is getting help but that she's still very worried.
The boy -- volunteers affectionately call him "Peter" -- arrived in Florida on Tuesday night after a group of men and women that included Republican Sen. George LeMieux worked for several days to bring him here.
He first developed a lump on his head a little over a year ago, said his mother, Denise Arteus. He had surgery in Haiti, but a few months ago, he developed another growth on his neck. Now it's larger than a softball and causing a great deal of pain. He couldn't sleep on his side or swallow certain foods.
Lauren Odman, a registered nurse at Broward General, met Peter when she was volunteering in Haiti after the January earthquake. They bonded when she gave him a Spiderman blanket. Odman received an email last week saying the boy was in dire need of medical attention. When Odman's father, an oncologist, asked what she wanted for her birthday, she said she wanted this boy to get surgery.
Her father told her to call him back when she found something she wanted from a store. But her friend Aaron Jackson, founder of the charity Planting Peace, overheard the conversation and insisted he would do everything in his power to get Peter to the U.S. for treatment. With the help of Sen. George LeMieux and a local benefactor they call "Saint Bob," they worked through the bureaucracy involved with the State Department, Haitian embassy, and hospital.
Peter's mother says she learned her son would be flown to the U.S. on Sunday night. "I was scared but happy," she said this morning. She says she has no way of contacting her husband or checking in on her other children while she is here. She's tired, worried, and unsure what the future holds. But at least things are better than they were, for the moment.
"No more tears," she said.