Brave Amilio Bueno battles leukemia

In late June, Johnny Bueno, a teacher at EPIC Headstart for 15 years, and Betty Bueno, a store manager at Burger King, received news about their son Amilio that every parent dreads.

"He had a nose bleed that would not stop, so we took him to the hospital," said his mother Betty. Upon testing his blood they found that both his red and white blood cell counts were low. It was discovered that 5-year-old Amilio had bone marrow leukemia.

Instead of being carefree like most children who enter kindergarten, he has to face a very adult battle and go to Seattle every Tuesday for chemotherapy treatment.

For the first few months of school Amilio will miss days for his treatment. During the months of November and December he will be in Seattle receiving chemotherapy. In order to keep him caught up with the other students academically, the hospital is providing a tutor for him.

"He's doing okay, he gets tired often and he's gained 15 to 20 pounds from the steroids. He gets mood swings because of the medication," said Betty.

Since beginning treatment, Amilio has seen improvement. When they first found the leukemia, 90 percent of his body had cancer. Now, only 4 percent of his body has cancer, according to Betty. There is a good chance that the leukemia will never come back, but they have a three and a half year battle ahead of them.

Amilio has three siblings, which the family has been told are not likely to have leukemia. According to Betty, "They don't know what causes it, but it is easier for children to get rid of it."

In an effort to help Amilio and his family the Burger King in Sunnyside will be hosting a car wash and yard sale the weekend of Aug. 12-13 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Burger King restaurants from the Tri-Cities and Ephrata are also collecting donations for the Bueno family.

Many of Betty's co-workers are helping some way, either donating goods or their time. Co-worker Mary Flores has been helping to get the word out about the fundraiser. Her husband Juan Flores is in charge of picking up items for the yard sale from the various Burger Kings that are participating.

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