Have you ever met someone that could light up the room with their smile? How about someone who can make you laugh with just a few witty words? Or, even better, how about someone who is the epitome of Love, Perseverance, Inspiring, and more recently, Bravery? If not, I am proud to introduce you to Marco Manuel Ochoa Jr.
At first glance, you may think that Marco is your ordinary 8 year old boy who lives at home with his Mother, Father, 2 dogs and 2 frogs. Yes, he loves to run and play with friends, play video games, watch cartoons and occasionally, not want to get up for school. For the most part, Marco is just like every other 8 year old boy, however, it has taken Marco over 5 years of hard work to become this “ordinary” 8 year old boy. At the age when most kids are starting to talk and play with peers, Marco could not. Every day tasks such as grocery shopping could quickly turn into a parents’ nightmare. At the age of 3 1/2, Marco was diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum. This diagnosis helped to explain his complete meltdowns when it came to certain touches, smells and sounds. Marco frequently suffered from severe meltdowns. On top of this, Marco’s speech, gross and fine motor skills were extremely delayed. This began Marco’s first set of challenges, needless to say, they were an enormous undertaking for such a young boy.
Fast forward 5 1/2 years later, Marco can hold his own conversations, with children and adults alike. Not only is he doing well in school, he is thriving! Marco has managed to go from 100% Special Education in preschool and kindergarten to currently over 90% General Education in his Second grade year. He is one of the best readers in his class and consistently passes reading, writing and math tests as well. Marco is now described by friends and teachers as the kid who has a sparkle in his eyes, a fabulous smile, hilariously outspoken, endless energy, and having an appetite of a small tribe!
Over these last few months, Marco has changed. His eyes became dull, his smile became a wonderful, but rare occasion. He grew very tired, taking long naps whenever he could, including during class. His funny quips were far and few between, and his appetite dwindled to non existent. Marco started complaining that his tummy hurt every time he ate anything at all. He started to turn grey in color. Often at night, he would be in tears, complaining about pain in his legs. After two visits to the Dr. with no results, we just knew something was wrong.
On Saturday, March 23, we received a call at 5 AM urging us to rush Marco into the ER because of severe Anemia and blood loss. We started tests immediately to find out what was ailing Marco. Within a few hours, we were told that Marco had a very large mass in his abdomen and he needed a bone marrow biopsy. The bone marrow biopsy was inconclusive at first, so we proceeded to perform a tumor biopsy.
On Wednesday, March 27, Marco was given a diagnosis of Neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a rare solid tumor cancer that attacks the sympathetic nervous system. This type of cancer affects roughly 650-700 children per year in the US. This cancer has presented itself in Marco as a large tumor on his abdomen that has spread onto his spinal cord, lymph nodes and into his bone marrow, with lesions on his liver and lungs. What makes this even more rare, is that Neuroblastoma is usually found in children under the age of 2, less than 3 percent of these cases are found in children Marco’s
Please join Marco, as he so bravely faces his new journey. It will be a long, arduous road, but as he has proven before, he is up to challenge. You can follow Marco by visiting his Caringbridge site at : http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/marcoochoajr
On Saturday, June 8th, we will be hosting a fundraising event at our Rocklin location, 4420 Granite Dr. Ste 100, Rocklin, CA 95677
Similar to “FGB” and “CrossFit for Hope” events, there will be a main event or WOD that is totally optional. Suggested donation is just $20 to participate in the WOD itself and there will be side events as well for chances to win some swag! Our community has come together quite nicely for this event. Coach Casey DJ’s on the side and will be hooking up some great audio. Ryan will be making up some apparel and Tim and Cami with BeastFuel will be cooking up a storm and all proceeds will be donated to the Ochoa’s to help in this time of need. We will be having raffles for FREE months of training, ProAnox Genesis antioxidant systems, Progenex proteins, credit to be used at our proshop for shoes, shirts, shorts, sweatshirts, strength wraps, etc… We will also have some clippers on stand by and for any body that would love to donate, but perhaps don’t have the means; Rocklin CrossFit will donate $50 per shaved head(at a cap of 10 people)!!!!
Mark your calenders and get ready to come together to help support our family!!