Archive for May, 2011

TakeCare grants Johnsiney’s Disneyland Wish

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

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TakeCare donated $13,500 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Guam to grant nine year-old Johnsiney Relech’s wish of going to Disneyland with her family


Make A Wish Brings Teen Home to Guam

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

By Erin Thompson
Pacific Daily News
egthompson@guampdn.com

When the Make-A-Wish foundation offered Julian James Nangauta the chance to fulfill one wish, he didn’t ask for a new video game console, to meet a celebrity, or even to take a trip to Disneyland. The 7-year-old Merizo native, whose health-care needs uprooted him and his family from Guam four years ago, said he just wanted to go back home. “All I want to do is fish,” said Nangauta. “The last time we were here, we used to wake up at 3 in the morning just to go catch some fish.” To help make that dream a reality, Nangauta, who arrived on Guam last week, received a check for $7,500 yesterday from the TakeCare Insurance Company, which has partnered with Make-A-Wish to grant children’s wishes. TakeCare has supported Make- A-Wish for years, but wanted to do something different this year, said Agnes Perez, marketing manager for TakeCare. The business will partner with Make-A-Wish to grant a gevery quarter this year, three on Guam and one in Saipan, said Perez.

Special Case

Make-A-Wish grants approximately 20 wishes a year on Guam and in the Northern Marianas. But Nangauta’s case was a particularly poignant case, said Victor Camacho, executive director of the Make-AWish Foundation of Guam. “I just thought it was a remarkable thing that of all the things he could wish for, he chose to come down to Guam. And when asked why, he just said he missed the island, and misses his family and friends,” he said. Diagnosed at four months old with aplastic anemia, a blood disorder in which the body doesn’t produce enough blood cells, Nangauta has spent his whole life battling to stay alive. “He’s been fighting ever since. So we’ve had a long journey,” said the teen’s father James Camacho. Four years ago, the family left Guam to seek medical treatment for his son’s acute myelodysplastic leukemia. Nangauta needed intravenous immunoglobulin — or IVIG, a plasma treatment of antibodies collected from the plasma of healthy donors. But his first treatment depleted the island’s entire stock of the treatment at the time. “That’s when I decided we can’t continue his treatment here. We need to go to the states where the IVIG was plentiful,” said Camacho.

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Wish granted: Cancer survivor Julian James Nangauta, 17, cuts into a cake yesterday at the   TakeCare Wellness Center in Tamuning. TakeCare Insurance Company donated a check for $7,500 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation Guam, which grants wishes to ailing children. Nangauta’s wish was to visit friends and family on Guam, and to spend some time fishing. Nangauta spent four years off island seeking medical treatment for acute myelodysplastic leukemia.

Uprooted

The family moved to New Mexico, ere Nangauta had to undergo a series of harrowing treatments, including blood transfusions every three days. Eventually the family relocated to Denver, so Nangauta could receive a bone marrow transplant. After his first transplant, however, doctors gave the teenager six months to live. “We actually gave up on trying to push him to stay alive,” said James Camacho. “And he’s the one that said, ‘No, I want to o the second transplant.’” The second transplant was a success, and Nangauta’s leukemia is now in remission. He’s gained weight — during chemotherapy he was down to about 90 pounds — and is looking forward to his future life. “I thought it would never end,” said Nangauta.

Daily struggle

The health struggles have been a financial and emotional hardship for the whole family, said James Camacho. Following the stateside relocation, he was out of work for almost a year. His wife, Joyce angauta, spent two years working as her son’s full-time nurse. The family doesn’t have health insurance, so they rely on Medicaid to pay for the thousands of dollars in medical bills the disease has incurred. “Each day that he stayed at the children’s hospital, the bill was $4,700  each day, and he was in there for seven months,” he said. “So it’s reached over $1 million.” And even after the teen’s father found a job working at a private produce packing company, James Camacho said it’s a constant struggle to pay bills. In fact, the family qualifies for housing under a program provided by the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. “As far as raising them, clothing him, and all the other things that a parent needs to worry about, it’s all been on my shoulders,”   he said. “And every day of my life, I’m worried I won’t be able to do the basic stuff. I’m barely keeping the power and water and all those basic needs on and going.” The granting of Nangauta’s wish means the family has a   chance to take a break from the day-to-day struggle, and reconnect with family. While he’s on island, Nangauta will go fishing, take a Jet Ski ride and visit Cocos Island. Friends and family will also gather at a local church to share in the  reunion, which coincides with the 50th wedding anniversary of Nangauta’s Merizo grandparents. “I have never experienced a vacation in my life,” said James Camacho. “As hard as I’ve been working my whole life, with my four kids, me  and my wife have never gone on a  vacation. I’ve always heard from friends and relatives (they) want to vacation here, somewhere, they did this. This is our first ever.” As soon as he’s healthy enough, Nangauta said he wants to move back to Guam permanently. He said he’s been enjoying the trip, and would have even without the fishing. “It’s been great,” he said. “I’m happy to see family.”


The Nangauta family celebrates their homecoming with a $7,500 donation from TakeCare Insurance Company to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

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TakeCare sponsored their son, Julian Nangauta’s (pictured second from left) wish to come to Guam to spend time with his family and go fishing.


Representatives of TakeCare Insurance Company present a $7,500 check to the Make-A-Wish Foundation Guam Chapter and Wish Kid, Julian Nagauta

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

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Pictured (l to r) Sally Malay, MAWF Board Member, Mike Naholowa’a, MAWF Board Member, Gina Ramos, TakeCare Chief of Staff, Agnes Perez, TakeCare Marketing Manager, Jeff Larsen, TakeCare Health Plan Administrator, Victor Camacho, MAWF Executive Director, Julian Nangauta and the Nangauta family.