DJ and Rita Contreras had 3 beautiful sons. In August of 2012, their oldest, 9-year-old Nathaniel was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a bone cancer, above his left femur. Nathaniel immediately began treatment: two months of chemotherapy.
“The impact it had on his body was pretty hard to watch,” said Rita, “He would wake up to throw up, cry, sleep and wake up and cry.”
At his 6-month checkup doctors found it had spread to his lungs and Nathaniel endured surgery and 8 more months of chemo. His cancer went in remission for 9 months but by Christmas break, he was sick again. Scans showed it had spread to his brain. DJ and Rita took turns staying with Nathaniel around the clock. “When you don’t know how much time you have, your priorities shift,” said Rita.
When Jerry Caruso offered to help the family with bills, Rita and DJ said they did need help, but what they wanted most was to give their son something special. So Caruso Family Charities provided something priceless: a one-week vacation in Florida to take the boys to Legoland. “We had the absolute best time with him,” Rita glowed. “That was July of 2015 and we lost Nathaniel in September.”
Nathaniel lost his battle with cancer on September 22, 2015. “These are treasured memories,” Rita added, “Thank you for giving us our last family vacation.” The impact on Nathaniel, and his family was priceless.