SIERRA VISTA — Two years ago, Byanka Padilla, a 2015 Buena High School graduate and top ranking JROTC cadet, seemed on track for a successful career in nursing. She was accepted to the University of Arizona and had started her freshman year.
But her dream of becoming a nurse came to a screeching halt after she was diagnosed with stage 3 chondrosarcoma, an aggressive form of bone cancer in May 2016. The cancer attacked five of Padilla’s ribs, her sternum, moved into her lungs and more recently, her spine.
“I just finished radiation on Friday, and now will be waiting for a CT scan to find out if the radiation even worked,” said Padilla in a phone interview on Wednesday. “Now that the cancer has spread into my spinal cord, I’m paralyzed from the hips down, so I need a wheelchair and a lot of help. The CT scan will show if my form of chondrosarcoma responds to the radiation treatment.”
Although a resident of Arizona, Padilla will not be a U.S. citizen for another three years. And because of that, insurance has been an issue.
“I’ve just now become eligible for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Arizona, which I did not have prior to this,” Padillas said.
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