Cigarroa High School cancer survivor inspires others with his determination and perseverance

Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 7:50 AM CDT
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LAREDO, TX. (KGNS) - Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is recognized every September by childhood cancer organizations around the world.

Of children diagnosed with cancer one in four children are diagnosed with brain cancer each year, that’s according to the National Cancer Institute.

In Laredo, one Cigarroa High School student is inspiring other patients and families by sharing his story.

When Damian Carrizales was five-years-old doctors told him he had a tumor in his head and was rushed straight to the hospital.

At the time, Patrcia Ramos, a single mother of two children, said she was terrified and one of the worst experiences of her life.

Damian is now 13 years cancer free, but a part of that journey will always stay with him.

“This tumor thank God it was removed, so whatever cell it stays then after that it was the chemo. They found premature cells so they did chemo but the tube was placed inside his head and he still has it and he’s probably going to stay for life with the tube,” said Ramos.

When you see Damian, he looks like a regular 18-year-old but with a scar on the back of his head.

That does not hold him back from doing what he loves most.

Although he is not allowed to play football, since he can’t take any hits, he has been running track since the fifth grade and enjoys every minute of it.

“Every time I run I feel free. Thats how I feel every time I run. I just feel free that I have freedom. I feel good I feel strong mentally physically and emotionally,” said Damian.

“Damian is a great young man we met each other back in middle school he’s always been a very hard worker. He has a great work ethic and he’s one of those kids whose one of a kind. He’s a very responsible and respectful young man,” said Cigarroa Track Coach Rolando Ramos.

During his sophomore year Damian joined the swim team. Although he wasn’t the best at first, he persevered through that too and kept on swimming.

“When he first started it was actually new to him and he struggled a little bit but just like anything else he overcame that adversity he picked it up he loved it and now he’s one of our top guys. He’s an inspiration. Some kids feed off of him especially how charismatic he is with his positive attitude no matter what’s going on,” said Swim Coach Alberto Gonzalez.

Damian is part of the Bella Strong Child Cancer Awareness Organization.

He wants to be there for families going through a similar struggle that he and his mom faced at a young age.

“There’s parents that don’t have the money I would like to help some parents or as many parents as I can who are going through these tough times and don’t have the money or funds. And that I can just help them pay the expenses they need,” said Damian.

If you would like to help or donate to the Bella Strong organization, you can click here.

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