'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

  • Wrongful death suit filed on behalf of Daniel Prude's kids

    World News CTV News
    ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Attorneys for the five children of Daniel Prude, a Black man who died after being restrained by police during a mental health episode, announced a federal lawsuit Monday against the city of Rochester, alleging wrongful death and civil rights violations. Source
  • Queen, Prince Philip didn't make skin colour comment about Meghan's baby: Oprah

    World News CTV News
    MONTECITO, CALIF. -- Oprah Winfrey has revealed that while Prince Harry would not say who in the Royal Family made comments about his son's skin colour, he did share who hadn't. Appearing Monday on "CBS This Morning," Winfrey said Harry told her neither his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, nor his grandfather, Prince Philip, were part of conversations about Archie's skin tone. Source
  • U.S. Supreme Court rejects final outstanding election appeal from Trump

    World News CBC News
    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday disposed of the last of three cases brought to the justices by former President Donald Trump challenging his election loss, bringing a muted end to his futile quest in the courts to hold onto power. Source
  • Quebec records fewest COVID-19 infections in months with 579 new cases

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Quebec announced Monday that 579 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the lowest number in months for the province. This brings the overall total number of infections since the start of the pandemic to 293,210. Source
  • How this business is helping Canadians cure their COVID rage, one swing at a time

    Canada News CBC News
    On a quiet crescent in suburban Ottawa, Grace Roswell is seeing red. Crowbar in hand, Grace is celebrating her 12th birthday inside the crimson-lined Vengeance Van, a rage room on wheels that shatters neighbourhood calm with explosions of glass and booming bass beats. Source
  • New COVID-19 cases in Ontario spike above 1,600 as stay-at-home order lifts in Toronto, Peel Region

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- COVID-19 cases in Ontario have spiked to levels unseen since early February as a stay-at-home order that has been in effect for weeks lifts in Toronto, Peel Region and North Bay. The province said Monday that it recorded 1,631 new COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours. Source
  • New COVID-19 cases in Ontario spike above 1,600, officials attribute increase to data issue

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- COVID-19 infections in Ontario have spiked to levels unseen since early February but the province says Monday’s case count is higher than expected due to a “data catch-up process” related to its case and contact management system. Source
  • Unions say health-care workers still struggling to get enough PPE

    Canada News CBC News
    Three major unions say health-care workers across Ontario still struggle to obtain personal protective equipment to shield them from COVID-19. They're calling on the province to do more to ensure the workers' safety. Unifor, the health-care arm of the Service Employees International Union and the Canadian Union of Public Employees also called for a "universal wage" of $25 an hour for all personal support workers regardless of what part of the provincial system they work in. Source
  • MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Amazon's Jeff Bezos, marries Seattle science teacher

    World News CBC News
    MacKenzie Scott, philanthropist, author and former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has married a Seattle science teacher who expressed gratitude "for the exceptional privilege it will be to partner in giving away assets with the potential to do so much good when shared. Source
  • ICC judges award US$30M to Congolese warlord's victims

    World News CTV News
    THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS -- International Criminal Court judges on Monday awarded US$30 million (25.3 million euros) in reparations to victims of crimes for which a Congolese warlord was convicted including child soldiers and victims of rape and sexual slavery. Source