WILSONVILLE -- Less than a week ago, a 7-year-old Wilsonville boy was diagnosed with a profoundly rare form of cancer. In a time when many of us don't even know our next door neighbors, his neighbors take stepping up to a whole new level.
On Tuesday, 7-year-old Estavan Catalan was diagnosed with a rare tumor in his brain. Doctors told his parents he had a Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) tumor located in the middle of his brain stem.
Doctors said more than 90 percent of children die within eighteen months of diagnosis, and DIPG is one of the most devastating forms of brain tumors.
As you might imagine, the news is still sinking in for Estavan's family.
"He explained to us where the tumor was, and the oncologist explained that it was on the brain stem," said Estavan's mother, Yesenia Catalan.
The young boy is now part of a research study so doctors can learn more about his type of disease.
"I told him that he's a real-life hero, that because of him, they're going to find out a lot more about the disease and they're going to be able to help other kids," said Estavan's father, Gonzalo Catalan.
Needless to say, it has been hard.
But, about two dozen neighbors have come together, and stepped up - hoping to make life a little easier.
"Everybody has literally started moving mountains for us, and they've done things for us that I would never expect from anybody," said Gonzalo.
The neighborhood, about two dozen people, has gone above and beyond.
Gonzalo has been out of work for several months, and mom Yesenia was supposed to start her new job right when they found out Estavan was sick.
To make matters worse, they couldn't afford rent and were being evicted.
"As soon as they arrived back from the hospital an eviction was served, but they they needed to stay put," said friend and neighbor Sue Anne Williams.
Neighbors made calls and struck a deal with the family's landlord. They're paying the family's rent for five months--and they've almost raised enough.
That's not all they've done.
"We brought Estavan home Wednesday evening and when we arrived, our house was clean," said Yesenia. "They cleaned our restrooms, the kitchen, mopped our floor and filled our pantry with food," said Gonzalo.
"We feel blessed, basically. There's no words," he added.
Williams said it's easy, adding you can do a lot with a lot of helping hands.
"It's so unique and here we are in little Wilsonville. We all feel so blessed and lucky because this is ...our family."
The 'Make a Wish' foundation contacted Estavan. He was asked what he wanted and he chose a trip to Disneyland.
If you'd like to help the family, there's a link to his web page.
His neighbors also made him the web page.