DOWNEY - Downey resident Paul Morales was spending a normal day at home with his children in March of 2009 when his life took an unexpected turn."I was at work when I got the call," said Ivania Morales, Paul's wife of nearly 21 years. "He had a seizure. We were all shocked for a while, but we found out at the hospital that there was a tumor." After several tests, doctors discovered a brain tumor on his left temporal lobe, which affects speech and behavior. Ever since, the Morales family has been utilizing every treatment available hoping and praying for a cure while raising money to cover the costly expenses. "We have taken part in several different treatments," said Ivania. Currently, he is receiving weekly boosters to boost his immune system as well as supplements to shrink the tumor. In April of 2010, Paul had brain surgery where doctors removed 80% of the tumor, but according to Ivania, it continues to grow. "We've tried everything...we're praying for a miracle," she said. After nearly eight months of chemotherapy this year, the family is now hoping to send Paul to a cancer clinic in Houston where doctors offer a variety of personalized cancer treatments for patients diagnosed with over 50 different forms of the disease. Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, who leads the 35-year-old clinic, has dealt with many brain tumor patients through the years and has some success stories, according to Morales. His clinical trial treatments, however, are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration and not covered by the family's health insurance, leaving the family with few options going forward. Morales estimates that one year of treatment will cost nearly $120,000. But the family and friends of Paul Morales have turned to the community for help, launching the Paul Morales Foundation in order to raise money for Paul's treatment. Morales said together they have collected $20,000 for the initial weeks of treatment, but the organization is planning to host several more fundraising events in the coming months. "We have a lot support, a lot of friends are helping," Ivania Morales said. "We're seeing private people donate and it's touching. The other day a lady donated $100 and she doesn't even know Paul." On Oct. 30, Paul and Ivania will leave for Houston where Morales will immediately begin a three-week, gene therapy treatment. According to the Burzynski Clinic, each subsequent month of treatment is approximately $7,800. Morales is hopeful that local residents will show their support and help Paul get the treatment he needs. "I know he's my husband, but there aren't too many men like Paul," she said. "He's a good man who loves God. He never has complained. Everyday he's texting people motivational messages and scriptures...he's just too good a guy to go." More than 20 years ago, Ivania, 43, and Paul, 44, met as teenagers and attended prom together. Today, the Downey couple has one daughter, age 18, and three sons, ages 15, 6, and 4. Ivania Morales, a loan consultant for Estate Financial Services in Downey, believes a lot of people will ultimately benefit from the family's foundation, which will continue raising money beyond Paul's recovery. "Obviously I want to save my husband, but it's not just for Paul," she said. "This will be a way to help others who would also like to seek alternative treatment but may not be able to do so for financial reasons. It's for so many people with cancer. I hope that we can give hope." This month, the foundation will host a variety of fundraising events including a turnaround trip to Pechanga Casino next Saturday, and several raffles for everything from a large-screen TV to a seven-day vacation getaway. To learn more about the Paul Morales Foundation or donate, visit paulmoralesfoundation.chipin.com or contact Ivania Morales at (562) 644-9581 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
********** Published: October 13, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 26