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Young clinic patient receives surprise birthday party in Reedley

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REEDLEY – Nathan Ledezma Diaz recently celebrated his 6th birthday among old clinic friends. Nathan, a patient at Adventist Health Medical Office – Reedley Children’s, recently was diagnosed with a brainstem glioma, a very rare type of cancer that affects mostly children.

The moment the clinic team learned of Nathan’s inoperable condition, they started discussing how to celebrate his life and make him happy as he prepared to enter treatment.

An Adventist Health patient since the age of 1, Nathan is a very happy, bright child, his care team says. “I’d never seen him unhappy,” says his pediatrician, Marta Atalla, M.D., “until one appointment.”

“We noticed that his left eye turned inward,” says Marcela Diaz, Nathan’s mother. A visit to Atalla regarding the problem turned into referrals to an ophthalmologist and then to an oncologist, who diagnosed Nathan. His condition is inoperable.

“He's always been very energetic, very social. Everywhere we used to go, he would always speak to people and tell them stories,” says Marcela. A fan of the popular children’s show, “PAW Patrol,” Nathan dreamed of one day becoming a police officer or a firefighter.

The Reedley Police Department, Reedley City Fire Department and Sequoia Safety Council joined Adventist Health teams in presenting Nathan with a pizza party, cake and good company.

“We just wanted to make his day special. Seeing him smile gives us hope that no matter what you’re going through in life, as long as you smile, it makes a big difference,” says Pamela Staggs, a supervisor at the Reedley Police Department. She worked closely with Cyndee Trimble, a community service officer, to bring together police officers, EMT personnel and firefighters to join in on Nathan’s big day.

That was only the beginning of the surprises for Nathan.

Atalla and the clinic’s practice administrator, Robert Vasquez, knew that Nathan had never been to Disneyland, so they worked with Adventist Health’s administrative director of rural health clinics, Jessica Rodriguez, who contacted other Adventist Health clinics in the Central Valley. In just a matter of days, regional directors, practice administrators and other associates collected funds to buy Disneyland tickets for Nathan and his family and provided additional funds to help the family with travel and other expenses. “It was a good opportunity for us to fulfill our mission of living God’s love in a tangible way,” Rodriguez says.

Seeing so many people come together for her son, Marcela says, “I felt very emotional and happy for him.” The family traveled to Disneyland in early June before Nathan’s radiation treatment began and had an amazing time.

Nathan’s treatment continues, and his inner strength keeps him smiling. Marcela says she is keeping hope alive. She is caring for Nathan with the help of her family and the Reedley Children’s clinic team.

More information about Adventist Health’s rural health clinics is available at AHMedicalOffices.com.


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Adventist Health is a faith-based, nonprofit integrated health system serving more than 75 communities in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Our workforce of 32,900 includes more than 23,600 employees; nearly 5,000 medical staff physicians; and 4,350 volunteers. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist heritage and values, Adventist Health provides compassionate care in 20 hospitals, more than 260 clinics (hospital-based, rural health and physician clinics), 15 home care agencies, seven hospice agencies and four joint-venture retirement centers. In addition, the Adventist Health Plan serves patients in Kings County. Visit AdventistHealth.org for more information.