Lehigh Acres Boy with
Tumor Gets Community’s Support
Sunday’s “Bowling for Ethan” event was one of several planned by Turtle Shirts to try to help the mother and son with the almost weekly trips to St. Petersburg for doctor visits, chemotherapy and other tumor-related issues.
Angie Becker of Turtle Shirts said the company has been hosting charity events and many of those who play in the company’s softball league participate. “It’s like a little community,” Becker said. “We try to help.”
A fund is open at Region’s Bank for Ethan.
The doctor examined Ethan and referred him to a neuro-opthalmologist. Because they have no insurance and the specialist required upfront money, she took him to a hospital emergency room instead.
“They pulled me from the exam room and told me to take him to St. Pete — now,” she said.
Ethan had surgery the next morning to put in a drain and for a biopsy. The biopsy showed the tumor, and it was an aggressive type.
Mrs. Arbelo, 40, who had her own cancer scare and had undergone a lumpectomy earlier, was told to take Ethan home and make him comfortable.
Not content to just wait for his death, Arbelo looked for help. She found it in a clinical trial at All Children’s Hospital in St. Pete.
Ethan started the trial on June 19. Arbelo saw that as a good sign as she had joined the Marines on that date in 1989.
Although Arbelo retains her Marine-tough attitude, the past months have taken its toll. She and Ethan had to handle the diagnosis while also being hit by the loss of her job, a breakup with her fiancé and watch as her son was wracked by seizures at times.
“I really don’t know how I am keeping it together,” she said. “I just pray that he wakes up in the morning.”
Ethan, meanwhile, said he would like to be a Marine, like his mother and two of his uncles.
“Marines are not allowed to die without permission,” Ethan said proudly
Where to donate
Anyone wishing to donate to help Ethan and his mother can make a contribution to Ethan’s Fund at any branch of Regions Bank or click here to make donation online.