“She helped me through many rough times,” Cancer diagnosis fuels bond between Oklahoma teen and sister

OKLAHOMA CITY - Middle school can be challenging for kids, but one Oklahoma 14-year-old has already overcome many obstacles most teens would never imagine.

Erick Sanchez is happy to have a new class schedule after being away from teachers and friends for 10 months.

"Honestly, I kind of missed, I missed everything about school," he said.

Erick's family said they knew something was wrong when he started coming home from school exhausted.

They took him to the doctor, who did an entire physical check up, and became concerned when he learned Erick wasn't just tired but he had dropped 15 pounds in three months.

Her medical detective work quickly led to the Jimmy Everest Center, where he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

"Because of its nature of spreading cancer through the body, we start with a high dose of chemo right from the get go," said Dr. Suraj Pratap, a pediatric oncologist.

Erick's 19-year-old sister, Cynthia, said the diagnosis had a profound effect on her.

"I went into survival mode, so I started reading books about what could happen with chemo and his treatments and stuff," she said. "I made sure he's listened to, like he's not sad, if he wants to talk, I'm here kind of thing."

In fact, she put her own college career on hold to be there for her brother.

"She helped me through many rough times," Erick said.

Now, Erick has undergone his last major chemotherapy treatment since his bone marrow is free of cancer cells.

"Most of the patients who respond this well do really well in life," Pratap said.

While at home, Erick discovered he loves art and wants to pursue his new hobby in school.

A major goal of the Jimmy Everest Center is helping Oklahoma’s courageous kids beat cancer without having to leave home.

For more information or if you would like to donate to cure cancer in Oklahoma kids, visit JECfriends.org.

'Kids With Courage' is sponsored by the Jimmy Everest Center.