Before being diagnosed with Pre B-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Mateo Ocampo was occupied with the ordinary hobbies of a 16-year-old — he loved surfing and playing baseball. Mateo had to put his favorite hobbies to the side as he was transported to Stanford Children’s Hospital to begin his battle. There, he spent six months fighting his diagnosis and the infections that resulted from chemotherapy. Unfortunately, Mateo’s body did not react well and the cancer and fungal infections that followed lengthened his time at the hospital.
“Finally, immunotherapy removed all the cancer cells,” Mateo wrote in his scholarship essay. “But they couldn’t guarantee that it would provide a long-term cure. Bone marrow transplant was the next line of defense. I wanted no regrets. Inspiration came from those who cared for me and conversations with Nurse John, a Leukemia survivor, who asked me to trust the process.”
After receiving a stem-cell transplant, more chemo, radiation, and other treatments, Mateo was able to leave the hospital with a story and a heart for others in similar situations.
“Telling my story and helping others is my path as I strive to become an oncological anesthesiologist,” Mateo writes. He is currently attending Loyola Marymount University where he is studying Kinesiology and Health Science.
“I want to have a few moments with these kids to help them overcome their fear and hopelessness. I want to be a moment of comfort and joy for them.”