Valley family walks to thank St. Jude for saving boy's life

Valley family walks to thank St. Jude for saving boy's life

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PHOENIX -

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is known for helping sick children, no matter the circumstances.

One valley family is saying "thank you" to the hospital by participating in a St. Jude charity walk.

Juan Salas is an energetic, healthy 5th grader. But just a little over a year ago, Juan's mom was rushing him to the ER.

"He couldn't move his arm. He couldn't hold a cup. He couldn't do anything," said Amelia Salas, Juan's mom.

An MRI revealed Juan had had a stroke and that he'd need immediate surgery on a rare brain tumor.

"I couldn't believe it. I was actually in shock for a couple hours, like, it couldn't happen to the most wonderful kid in the world in my eyes," said Amelia Salas.

A single parent without health insurance, Amelia turned to St. Jude for help.

"They won't turn down any child, no matter what the situation is, they'll help any child in need," said Amelia Salas.

St. Jude flew Juan and Amelia to it's main research hospital in Memphis, TN.

Over the next three months, Juan had a second brain surgery and radiation treatment.

The hospital covered all expenses, from travel, to food, to medical care.

"I met a lot of doctors and they know what they're doing. They really helped me," said Juan Salas.  

Juan travels to Memphis every three months for check ups.

This month marks the one year anniversary of completing his radiation therapy.

Juan will celebrate by leading "Team Juan" in the St. Jude Give Thanks. Walk. in Phoenix.

"I can thank St. Jude for saving my life and raising money," said Juan Salas.

"This is so near and dear to our hearts and like he said, I couldn't have said it better. Just helping not only him, but other kids like him," said Amelia Salas.

Juan hopes to raise $500 for the walk and wants St. Jude to know how much he values its support.

"I would say thank you for my life," said Juan Salas.

This year's St. Jude Give Thanks. Walk. in Phoenix happens November 23. Registration is free.

St. Jude Give Thanks. Walk.
Nov. 23, begins at 9 a.m.
American Express
18850 N 56th St.
Phoenix, AZ 85050
http://bit.ly/1fRxSWO

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