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The Cure Starts Now's Tribute Funds

Octavio Carrillo's Fundraiser

Octavio was a happy and friendly 5-year-old when he was diagnosed with DIPG, a fast-growing and inoperable form of brain cancer. He had the most contagious laughter and brought so much joy and happiness to his entire family. He was the funniest little comedian and always had a new joke to share. Octavio adored telling people, “you belong in a tree because you’re nuts.” He loved singing, dancing, and playing golf and baseball. His dad would take him to the golf range, and Octavio would bring along his adorable little golf bag with his three clubs. He was an avid fan of the Chicago Cubs, and he loved going to their games and watching them on television, either way, he never missed a game. Above all, Octavio loved his family, especially his sister, Kayla.

The first symptom Octavio’s parents noticed was his left eye turning inward. Thinking he had a lazy eye and may need glasses, his parents took him to his pediatrician, who agreed and referred them to an ophthalmologist. A week later, the ophthalmologist confirmed that Octavio had 20/20 vision and diagnosed him with sixth nerve palsy. He also ordered an MRI to be safe. While waiting for the MRI and subsequent results to roll around, Octavio’s parents noticed that his left side was weakening, causing him to drag his left leg and that he was frequently spilling his food and drinks, which was unusual since he was a bit of a clean freak. His parents received a call the day after Thanksgiving in 2009 from their son’s pediatrician with the MRI results that forever changed their lives. Octavio had a brain tumor.

Diagnosis crushed Octavio’s family and changed them completely. Shortly after his diagnosis, Octavio had two bleeds in his tumor that left him physically and vocally paralyzed for three months. Prior to all of this, Octavio had been such a happy 5-year-old who was so full of life, and in the blink of an eye, it was all taken away from him and his family. He couldn’t move or talk, but he and his family refused to lose hope. Doctors told his parents to take him home and enjoy him while they could because they only had one month left with him. They returned home the day before Christmas that year, put up their tree, and wished for a cure. Knowing they had to do whatever they could to help their little boy, Octavio’s parents took him for a second opinion the day after Christmas. The new oncologist and radiation oncologist gave them hope. Octavio immediately began radiation therapy and, on his last day of the radiation, he moved his left hand for the first time since his bleeds. That day, with a paintbrush in his left hand, he painted a masterpiece.

Despite his struggles, Octavio never lost his sense of humor or stopped hugging his mommy, and, even though he could no longer smile, he made sure to at least gave his family a little smirk. Once he regained most of his movement, he began dancing again, even when he was in a wheelchair, he didn’t let that stop him from moving to the beat. Octavio also found ways to use his illness to his advantage, such as winning staring contests since he lost the ability to blink when his tumor bled after his diagnosis and never regained it. He was the official unbeatable champion of staring contests; no one stood a chance.

Octavio fought with strength and bravery for nearly two years before he passed away at the age of seven. He inspired so many people during his battle and taught his family to be strong and never lose hope or faith even on the worst days. His beautiful legacy lives on in his family’s hearts and through their advocacy to raise awareness for this horrific disease.

Currently, the hope for a cure is all families have while battling DIPG but the only way to make that hope a reality is by increasing funding for childhood brain cancer research. 

Thank you for choosing to donate to The Cure Starts Now Foundation. 100% of this donation, after credit card processing fees, goes directly towards research to find the homerun cure for cancer starting with pediatric brain cancer research.

If you would like to make a donation by mail please send a check to:  The Cure Starts Now Foundation; 10280 Chester Road; Cincinnati, OH 45215 and put the child's name in the memo.

The family receives notification of all donations made to this tribute fund automatically.

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