We are pleased to share the story of one of hundreds of families The Family Place has helped throughout the years.
Names of those involved have been changed to respect their privacy.
Eva first came to The Family Place (TFP) in 2006 with her 2 young daughters, Diana and Alicia. Eva had recently migrated from Mexico, and had moved to the District in hopes of finding a better life and education for herself and her small family.
Eva lived with her husband who provided for her financially but did not support or spend time with the family. Eva felt isolated and alone, and came to The Family Place in search of assistance and care.
The Family Place became a second home to Eva and her children; she began participating in TFP’s domestic violence support group and quickly became friends with the other women and instructors of the class. Eva also joined the ESL classes and parenting classes, and Diana and Alicia spent the day in the Early Childhood Education classrooms being read to, sang to, and learning English words.
Eva was active in her classes until continual doctor’s visits for Diana kept increasing each month. The little girl had continuous colds and fever, and although antibiotics were prescribed, nothing seemed to help. The Family Place staff suggested she finally take Diana for blood work, and the results were shocking. Diana was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at two years of age.
The news devastated Eva’s family. TFP staff, including a doctoral practicum doctor in training, Natalia, were the first to respond and react to Eva’s needs. Natalia took Eva and Diana to many hospital visits, accompanying them through arduous doctor’s visits and interpreting everything into Spanish for Eva. Diana began chemotherapy and the side effects were horrifying in such a small child. Diana lost her hair and her small face and arms were swollen from all the medication needed to increase her white blood cells.
Eva’s husband left her after a year of hearing this diagnosis, so Eva was left to fend for herself as a single mother. The Family Place continued to provide support for her and her two daughters. Natalia provided individual counseling for Eva while the two girls were looked after in our center. Eva and her children ate hot lunch at our center every day, and friends and staff visited Diana in the hospital for many months.
Today, Diana is home living in remission, but smiling and playing as a normal six year old. Her chemotherapy lasted for two and a half years, ending in November 2009, but she will continue receiving medication and doctor’s visits for the rest of her life for the cancer not to return.
Diana’s story has been one of survival and hope among our families at The Family Place, a center which provides families with support services to foster the optimal development of their young children. The Family Place continues to provide educational and support services to low-income families in order to help them survive and thrive in order to create a better life for themselves and their children.
See what some of our current participants have been up to by checking out our Family Place Student Flickr Album.