Monday, June 18, 2001

Christopher Viloria, center, is recovering from a rare type of
leukemia while residing at the Ronald McDonald House in Manoa.
He is here with dad Ronald, right, and mom Glenda.

Cancer patient's family
stays in isles

By Helen Altonn

A 6-year-old boy who was flown here from Guam Easter Sunday with an unusual medical condition is being treated now as an outpatient, and his family has relocated here.

Ronald Viloria said his son, Christopher, "is walking around, talking and trying to be his usual self, but he's really homesick.

"We're telling him we're not going back for a long time, but he keeps saying, 'I want to see my friends.'"

Christopher's father and mother, Glenda, did not know what was wrong with the child when they brought him here.

Tests at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children showed the child has a rare type of cancer, B cell leukemia, or Burkitt's lymphoma. He had it all over his body before treatment.

Dr. Darryl Glaser, Kapiolani attending physician in pediatric hematology and oncology, said it is a sudden and fast-growing cancer that responds quickly to chemotherapy but is fatal if it is not diagnosed early.

Christopher is going into remission but still must go to the hospital daily for chemotherapy, his father said.

He was released from the hospital last Monday, joining his parents at the Ronald McDonald House.

"My wife said he was jumping up and down in the lobby just waiting to get in the car," Viloria said. "He was really anxious."

Viloria had returned to his job in Guam as a hotel pastry chef while his wife, a bookkeeper for a wholesale company, remained with their son.

He had planned to go back and forth between Hawaii and Guam.

But he said he found a job here at the Pacific Beach Hotel and "went back home and sold everything.

"We're pretty much relocating. It's for the best."

He said Christopher has undergone three "really harsh" sets of chemotherapy, but the fourth one is not as bad.

"He is really doing better than I expected, but he's lonely," Viloria said. "He has nobody to associate with except his parents, and that can get boring."

Viloria said the family has had a lot of support, particularly from people in Guam. Residents there saw a story and photo of Christopher on the Star-Bulletin Web site May 6 and did a lot of fund raising to help the family, he said.

"They have posters up everywhere in Guam (of the Star-Bulletin photo)," he said.

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