If this doesn’t make you ugly cry, you might not be human.
Young Alfonso Hoffman was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age 11. Battling cancer at any age is tough, but particularly difficult for children. Hoffman’s uncle, Mike Garcia, knew that Alfonso wants to be a K-9 officer when he grows up. So, being the rad uncle that he is, Garcia called the California Highway Patrol — Southern Division and asked if the family could participate during one of the department’s training days. Not only did the police force say yes, they gave Alfonso the star treatment and even made a touching video of his day with the officers.
Prepare to cry as you watch little Alfonso live out his dream of training side-by-side with the officers he respects and looks up to. The best part, according to the video, is that Alfonso had no idea that he was about to live out a childhood dream. No, these are not tears. There is just something in both of my eyes.
From the jump, Alfonso was overcome with emotions.
Entertainment anchor Amanda Salas, of “Good Day L.A,” was recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma –– cancer that occurs when cells begin to grow out of control and it starts in the white blood –– but she’s not letting the diagnosis stop her from living life. Since being diagnosed, Salas has started chemotherapy and her hair has begun to fall out so she decided to throw a “buzz party” where she shaved her hair off.
In a video on Instagram, she posted on highlights from her “Buzz Party,” Salas says that her hair started to fall out after only the first round of chemotherapy. “I felt like everything was just happening so fast,” she adds. “To be able to share this experience with people I love gave me strength and confidence.”
“I recently completed my first round of chemotherapy,” Salas writes. “To say the last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind would be an understatement. I have been trying to wrap my head and heart around all this.”
The latest statistics for 2019 show that about 74,200 people –– 41,090 males and 33,110 females –– will be diagnosed with NFL. This includes both adults and children. According to the American Cancer Society, about 19,970 people will die from this cancer –– 11,510 males and 8,460 females.
Overall, the chance that a man develops NFL in his lifetime is about 1 in 42; for a woman, the risk is about 1 in 54.
“While I was in the hospital laying in bed, one form of inspiration for me was going on social media and searching hashtags from others experiencing the same ‘thing’ I was. They were brace. They were beautiful. They believed. I hope to one day be that small dose of comfort for somebody else…the same way they gave me hope. Now, the FIGHT begins,” she adds.
The American Cancer Society also cites that, “Cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanics, accounting for 21% of deaths. While Hispanics are less likely than non-Hispanic whites to be diagnosed with the most common cancers (lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate), they have a higher risk for cancers associated with infectious agents, such as liver, stomach, and cervix.”
Instead of feeling weak and defeated, it’s admirable that Salas is ready to fight her NHS and that she also hopes she can inspire others who may be on the same journey as her.
Salas also says she’s ready to approach her NHS with the same work ethic she’s had in her career. “I never truly knew how strong I was until RIGHT NOW. I’m happily accepting all positive vibes and prayers, as I build my army to help me through this battle,” Salas writes.
In a #MondayMotivation inspired caption, she writes that Salas is an inspiration not only for “being strong for herself, her loved ones and for others who have been diagnosed with #NonHodgkinsLymphoma, but also for displaying the same exact work ethic in her journey to recovery as she does as an amazing entertainment reporter.”
She went on to say that Salas has never been a woman to “fold” and that hasn’t let her current circumstances define her negatively.
“You stand even when you may feel weak or when you may see doubt,” Uko writes. “On Saturday at Amanda’s Buzz Party where she had her hair buzzed off ahead of her surgery and second session of chemotherapy, I saw that same strong, professional work ethic she always possesses and displays.”
Another friend of Salas tweeted her some words of encouragement, “My friend @AmandaSalas is fighting cancer and cancer picked the wrong Latina to mess with. Bless you, my dear!! You just can’t get rid of her amazing smile!!!”
And another Twitter user replied to her and said, “You don’t know me and we have never met. But we have one thing in common. your type of cancer. My mom was diagnosed decades ago, shes still alive and strong. IF she can do it so can you. BE STRONG and live long. Know that you are not alone!”
It’s amazing to see the kind of unwavering support that Salas is receiving from colleagues and friends in her life. It’s especially needed during this difficult time.
“Cancer sucks,” Salas says. “But [my Buzz Party] didn’t have to.”
On June 11, Jon Stewart testified in front of Congress, and he was pissed. The former “Daily Show” host and fierce advocate of Sept. 11 first responders spoke angrily to the politicians that showed up (not all of them attended). He demanded the government approve funds to pay cancer-stricken first responders and to help families who lost loved ones because of their work in the aftermath of the terrorist attack.
“As I sit here today, I can’t help but think what an incredible metaphor this room is for the entire process that getting health care and benefits for 9/11 first responders has come to,” Stewart said. “Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders and in front of me, a nearly empty Congress.” He added, “Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak—to no one. Shameful, it’s an embarrassment to this country, and it is a stain on this institution,” Stewart said. “You should be ashamed of yourselves for those who aren’t here, but you won’t be because accountability doesn’t appear to be something that occurs in this chamber.”
One of those sick responders who was there alongside Jon Stewart was Luis Alverez.
The 53-year-old New Yorker and former U.S. Marine and bomb-squad detective for the New York Police Department went to Ground Zero on his own accord to help look for survivors on rooftops of buildings where the towers used to be. His family said that Alverez was working in the area for weeks. According to the New York Daily News, more than 400 first responders worked at Ground Zero, many of them got sick years later. The 9/11 fund was created to help them pay for their medical bills and other needs. Now that fund is running out of money, which is why Stewart went to Congress to plead with them to keep the fund alive because so many are depending on it.
Alverez was diagnosed with cancer in 2016, and his disease was linked to the work he did after 9/11.
“This came about pretty suddenly, without any warning signs,” David Alvarez said in 2017. “My father has always been someone I’ve looked up to (and) been inspired by,” and added, “It hit us hard.”
On May 29, Alvarez said he would stop chemo after 68 rounds. “I had chemo today, and my blood work was a lot better,” he said on Facebook. “Tumor markers went down a little bit, but I attribute that to the herbal/holistic supplements I started taking. I’ve been doing a lot of research for supplements for liver cancer, just in case, I decided to stop doing chemo. After 68 rounds I’m not getting the results I think I should. Next Wednesday, I have a CT scan, and if it shows no improvement. I’m going to stop chemo and turn to the holistic route. I’m not quitting the battle, just taking a different approach.”
Now, Alvarez, at 53, has died after being in hospice care since he testified in front fo Congress.
“I just wanted to let you know, what is going on with me,” he said in a Facebook post on June 19th. “Since you have have been with me on this 3-year ride. I’m now in hospice because there is nothing else the doctors can do to fight the cancer. It had nothing to do with my trip to DC, that was just a coincidence. The day after my trip, I was scheduled for chemo, but the nurse noticed I was disoriented. A few tests later, they realized that my liver had completely shut down because of the tumors and wasn’t cleaning out the toxins in my body and it was filling up with ammonia, hence the disorientation. So now I’m resting, and I’m at peace. I will continue to fight until the Good Lord decides it’s time. I will try to do a few more interviews to keep a light on our fight for the VCF benefits we all justly deserve. Please take care of yourselves and each other.- God Bless-Lou.”
We have to demand Congress to keep fighting for the first responders who did a job so many people could not. They willingly put their lives on the line following the worst terror attack on U.S. soil and we owe them the dignity and respect heroes deserve. It is shameful that the treatment for the ailments they received that day are in question because of a Congress politicizing heroes who gave their lives to help others.
Rest in peace, Luis.
Your bravery will never be forgotten. You were an exceptional person and we thank you for your sacrifices on 9/11.
Watch his moving testimony below.
Click here for more information on the 9/11 First Responders Fund.
Thank you for all you did for our country, Luis. You’re a true hero.