As part of an annual tradition, Heartland Family Services honors local families who display tremendous values and characteristics. In 2011 the award for the category of “Challenged and Successful Family” was given to the Lopez family. Every family is faced with trying and sometimes difficult challenges, but the difficulties faced by the Lopez family were beyond extraordinary. Jose and Maria were elated after having their first child David. Those feelings of joy were short-lived, as David soon had a high fever as a result of meningitis. In the following weeks, friends and relatives noticed that David wasn’t acting like a normal child – he was suffering from seizures that eventually lead to a diagnosis of epilepsy.
The birth of their second child, Raphael, brought about a new set of challenges. Originally diagnosed as severe constipation, at Maria’s insistence doctors ran a new series of tests. Upon their completion it was revealed that young Raphael suffered from nephroblastoma or Wilms’ Tumor – a form of cancer that affects young children. Doctors decided to remove the infected kidney and prescribed a six month course of chemotherapy and radiation.
In an effort to face their obstacles one day at a time, the couple sought group therapy sessions. After discovering their children would survive through a regiment of medications, they decided to continue attending support groups to be there for other families. They wanted to show them they are not alone and there were more parents like them. In the end, the Lopez family wants to show that through love, happiness, and faith anything is possible.
Heartland Family Service is a non-profit organization dedicated to families. Salute to Families creates a great sense of community by honoring eight families in the Omaha and Southwest Iowa area. This series of videos are similar to our profile videos but they are designed to highlight a family. These are great for non-profits because it demonstrates their hard work and how it benefits families in the community!