'It raises his chances': Family seeks help to fund 5-year-old's trial cancer treatment

When Jerylle Saquibal was diagnosed with cancer a year-and-a-half ago, his mom feared he wouldn't live to see his fifth birthday.

See Full Article

She certainly didn't expect the scene that played out in Calgary on Wednesday, when Jerylle was not only present to celebrate his fifth birthday, but was energetic enough to sing a song for an audience of well-wishers.

Dressed in a Batman costume, the outgoing boy belted out a rendition of "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas," and thanked all those present for helping pay for the treatments to keep his cancer at bay.

"Thank you for giving me all my medicine," Jerylle said.

His mother, Arlene Chavez, said that moment was a "big deal" for her because she wasn't sure it would ever happen. Back in July of 2014, Jerylle was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma – a childhood cancer that cannot be cured and must be treated through chemotherapy. Jerylle's family says the disease has only a 40-50 per cent survivability rate, with a 50 per cent risk of relapse.

"At one point I didn't think he would reach this stage, him turning five, so it's a big deal for us," Chavez told CTV Calgary.

"When a doctor tells you that your kid has cancer, all you can think is, he's going to die soon."

Jerylle's parents are raising money to pay for a new treatment that's been shown to help keep his type of cancer at bay. The treatment is currently at the clinical trial stage in the U.S., but it's not covered by Alberta's health care system.

The family has raised a little over $9,000 through a GoFundMe campaign to pay for the clinical trial, with a goal of $76,000 to pay for the costly treatments. Each of the seven treatments costs $18,000.

"This drug is important to us," Jerylle's father, Jorez Saquibal, told CTV Calgary. "It raises his chances."

Jerylle has already started with the treatments, and hopes to remain cancer-free so he can do all the things he loves.

"I like playing with my cousins and I love singing – and that's it," he told CTV Calgary.

Jerylle's family has set up a website to fully document his cancer struggles.

However, ask the five-year-old about the whole experience, and he'll give you a pretty good summary: "I had cancer and I needed a lot of pokes," he said.

With files from CTV Calgary



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Early agreement reached in dispute over Suez Canal ship

    World News CTV News
    CAIRO -- The owners and insurers of the giant container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week earlier this year have reached an agreement in principle over their dispute with canal authorities, representatives from both sides said Wednesday. Source
  • Israel's new government OKs first settlement construction

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM -- An Israeli defense ministry body advanced plans for 31 West Bank settlement construction projects Wednesday, the first such move under the country's new government. The plans approved by the Civil Administration include a shopping center, a special needs school and a number of infrastructure projects and zoning changes in existing West Bank settlements, Israeli media reported. Source
  • Watchdog calls rate of child sexual abuse in Nunavut a crisis

    Canada News CTV News
    Nunavut's representative for children and youth says the territory's high rate of child sexual abuse amounts to a crisis. Jane Bates testified this week before legislature members to discuss her office's 2019-2020 annual report. Source
  • Nearly $37 million needed to fix ‘critical’ deterioration at 24 Sussex Drive: NCC

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- It will cost $175 million over 10 years to restore Canada’s six official residences to good condition, according to a new report from the National Capital Commission. The homes—including the prime minister’s residence at 24 Sussex Drive—have deteriorated due to years of underfunding. Source
  • Japanese court says married couples must stick to single surname

    World News CBC News
    Japan's Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that laws requiring married couples to have the same surname are constitutional, dismissing a challenge by three couples seeking to keep separate names. The decision to affirm a 2015 Supreme Court ruling was a disappointment for rights activists who say the laws violate the constitution's guarantee of gender equality, since women almost always sacrifice their surnames. Source
  • Airstrike in Ethiopia's Tigray kills more than 50: witnesses

    World News CTV News
    NAIROBI, KENYA -- An airstrike hit a busy market in Ethiopia's northern Tigray village of Togoga on Tuesday and killed at least 51 people, according to health workers who said soldiers blocked medical teams from traveling to the scene. Source
  • 'It was a hoot': Owl with broken wing that was coaxed into a dog kennel set free in B.C. after recovery

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- An owl with a broken wing that was rescued by highway patrol officers last fall has been set free after its recovery. Last September, a BC Highway Patrol officer spotted an injured owl on Highway 7 near Ruby Creek between Agassiz and Hope. Source
  • Nova Scotia reports no new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday; active cases drop to 60

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, as well as 14 recoveries, as the active number of cases in the province drops to 60 - the lowest number of active cases reported in the province since April 18. Source
  • Backhoe accident claims life of man near Port Burwell, Ont.

    Canada News CTV News
    MALAHIDE TOWNSHIP, ONT. -- OPP are currently investigating a sudden death in Malahide Township just west of Port Burwell, Ont. Just after 11 a.m. emergency crews were called in for reports of a man in his early 50s who was found without vital signs. Source
  • U.S. airline staff call for crackdown on unruly passengers as reports of bad behaviour spike

    World News CBC News
    Airlines, flight attendants and pilots are calling for the U.S. Justice Department to prosecute unruly and violent passengers. In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland Monday, the trade group Airlines for America and unions for pilots and flight crews cited a "substantial increase" and a "growing escalation" in unruly and disruptive behaviour from airline passengers, particularly toward crew members. Source