8-year-old Hamilton Ariel, the twelfth of fifteen children. He lives with his family in the rural community of San Miguel de Atapal, about 300 kilometers (186 miles) from Jinotega in Nicaragua. About a year ago his mother, Doña Sonia Salguera, found several small cyst-like balls growing underneath his jaw. Greatly concerned, she took him to the nearest health center, which is a 40 minute walk from their home. Clinic personnel prescribed antibiotics and set up an appointment for the following month.
However, Hamilton and his mother were unable to return for the appointment. Two months later they made the trip again, and Hamilton’s growths were markedly worse. One cyst had grown to the size of a golf ball. Clinic personnel transferred Hamilton to the larger health clinic in Ayapal where doctors diagnosed the growth as a tumor. They informed Hamilton’s worried parents that they could remove the tumor for 3000 pesos (approximately $120 US) but that if he still wasn’t cured they would need 10,000 pesos ($400) to complete the treatment. The amount seems modest to us, but, like most others in the region, Hamilton’s family lives on less than $2 per day. Since the family was unable to afford the surgery, he was released without it. His father decided to resort to natural medicine, which did not help.
In March 2013 Doña Sonia noticed Hamilton had 4 or 5 new cysts in the same area. She was greatly alarmed by their rapid growth and decided to take Hamilton to the health center. Once again, the staff recommended that Hamilton be transferred to a hospital because he required surgery they were not equipped to provide. She explained to the doctor that she didn’t have the necessary money, so he told her to go home, somehow scrape together the money and return in two weeks. Hamilton was hospitalized on April 22nd. His tests provided no definite diagnosis, and, unable to afford the surgery for the necessary biopsy, the staff decided to treat him for lymph node TB.
Two months later, Dr. Custer and his team arrived at the hospital. They performed the biopsy which Hamilton had needed for more than a year and sent it to pathology for further study. He was subsequently transferred to the hemato-oncology wing of the children’s hospital in Jinotega. Esperança made Hamilton’s treatment possible by covering the costs of his transfer as well as lab tests.
Esperanca helped the family with follow-up lab exams and a consultation with a specialist. He was evaluated by an oncologist in the country’s capital, Managua, Nicaragua. For more than 30 days, Hamilton was in the Managua hospital for testing. They diagnosed him with stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and recommended chemotherapy as once. He has been through one chemo treatment and is headed to Managua today, August 12th, for his second chemo treatment. Obviously the parents are very distraught with this diagnosis but the doctor said that he is progressing well and they are all having faith in God.