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Family seeks medical help

by Merrie Leininger

A Gardnerville family is reaching out to the community while their son is in the hospital.

Angel Vargas, 17, who will be a senior at Douglas High School, was diagnosed with acute lympocytic leukemia June 9.

He has been in Washoe Medical Center receiving chemotherapy since then.

His mother, Marcie Medina, a nurse at Barton Memorial Hospital and the skilled nursing center at Summerville at Virginia Creek, and his father, Alvaro Vargas, who works at Jackson Quality Drywall, have rarely left his side since the diagnosis, using almost all of their vacation time.

The rest of their children, David, 16, Raymond, 14, Arthur, 14, and Krystal, 5, have been staying with family in Gardnerville and California.

Medina said their employers have been very understanding and helpful by giving them the time off, but Medina said insurance is inadequate to pay mounting hospital bills.

“We make enough to sustain our family, but the hospital bills, and the traveling has been hard,” Medina said. “We have gotten a lot of help from Virginia Creek and our family, but even after Angel goes into remission, there will be 1 to 2 years of treatment.”

Angel’s chemotherapy ended in June and now the family is waiting for the results.

“We are waiting to see how his blood count will recover. Based on that, they will determine if he is in remission or not. Right now, he is still really weak. He has good days and bad days,” Medina said.

She said her son is disappointed because he planned to try out for the Douglas High School soccer team this fall and now won’t be able to.

Medina said Angel is an easy-going boy who helps her a lot with the younger children.

“He’s very satisfied with simple, little things. He’s very good-hearted and very strong. He’s just a simple kid,” she said.

His parents discovered Angel was sick after he broke his leg at Easter, then got a cold he couldn’t shake.

“He had a cold, but we didn’t think much about it. He looked pale and so I took him to the doctor. Looking back, we can see the symptoms now. He had fevers and was weak and dizzy. That night, we went to Washoe Medical Center to check his white blood count. Three days later he started chemo,” Medina said.

She said it has been very difficult for her to see her child so ill.

Her co-worker, nurse Nancy Rojas, said she has hardly left Angel’s side.

“Here’s a family that needs some help. She’s reading between the lines because she used to be a critical care nurse. That makes it a little harder,” Rojas said.

Rojas and Medina’s other coworkers have been bringing food to the family and are holding a rummage sale Aug. 5 to raise money for medical bills.

Anyone who wants to help can bring non-perishable foods to Barton Skilled Nursing Center behind the Carson Valley Medical Center.

The rummage sale is being held at the old Copeland Lumber Yard in Minden from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and anyone is invited to set up a booth for a fee of $20. Donate items by calling Rojas at 265-2599 or Betsy Dorrance at 265-3693. Both can be reached at the care center at 782-7846.

A bank account has been set up at Bank of America. Anyone can donate to the account in Angel’s name. The number is 0049 6266 4755.