Published: Feb 14, 2019
Ximena Weldon was born with a hemangioma, a benign tumor made up of blood vessels, under her right eye. Hemangiomas are common, especially in infants, so the Weldon family only needed to monitor Ximena to make sure the hemangioma didn’t flare up, which doctors told them could cause issues with her vision.
In August of 2018, parents Blanca and Shawn noticed that Ximena’s eye was beginning to drift to one side. Assuming it was just because of the hemangioma, they made a doctor’s appointment. This appointment led to a series of others, which eventually brought terrifying news: at only five months old, their daughter had cancerous tumors in her eyes.
The retinoblastoma bilateral cancer was completely unrelated to Ximena’s hemangioma. However, the Weldons thought of the hemangioma as a blessing in disguise, noting that Ximena’s cancer was a type that usually wasn’t discovered until it was too late. It was only because they were keeping a close watch on her eyes that they noticed the drifting, which ultimately led to her diagnosis.
Ximena quickly began chemotherapy appointments and the family traveled from Milford, Delaware, about an hour and a half away, to be with their daughter while she got the care she needed.
“When our Social Worker told us about the Ronald McDonald House, we were extremely relieved,” says Blanca, noting that, for their family, the most significant benefit of the Ronald McDonald was the reduced stress due to having no hotel expenses.
“It’s comforting to know that… we have a place for our family to stay together,” Blanca says, recalling a time when Ximena was inpatient at the hospital and they stayed overnight in her room. She says it is a much better experience to be somewhere where her family can relax- at the Ronald McDonald House.
In January, the Weldons got the great news that chemotherapy had worked! Ximena was cancer-free. The family stood together at our Good News Bell and rang it in celebration, excited to share their news with the volunteers, staff, and other families staying at the House.
The Weldons are looking forward to the future. For now, 11-month old Ximena is still undergoing chemotherapy in hopes of keeping the cancer cells away, but the family is hopeful that her last chemo appointment will be in March of this year. The family adds that although there is concern that the tumors may re-grow in Ximena’s eyes in the future, they know “if it does happen, we can count on the Ronald McDonald House.”
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