EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The new comprehensive cancer treatment center announced by El Paso County and University Medical Center is a breath of fresh air for families who cannot receive specific treatments in the area, they say.

However Norma Cervantes, whose son Samir was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, wishes this was done sooner.

Throughout his battle with leukemia, Samir and his family traveled out of town continuously for his treatment. He recently received a bone marrow transplant and will soon have to travel to his doctors in Fort Worth every month for vaccinations.

This journey has been emotionally dtraining not only for him, but his mother.

“It’s the aftermath. It’s the travel for it. It’s the physical therapy, occupational therapy, the speech therapy, all those visits. It’s a lot for us,” Cervantes said

The new comprehensive treatment center will be helpful for any El Pasoans who have been diagnosed with cancer, officials say.

County Commissioner David Stout said this will allow families to stay in their hometown rather than travel to Houston or Dallas.

“A lot of times people who have a more serious illness when it comes to cancer, they have to go out of town to the Mayo Clinic to MD Anderson in Houston. The idea is to be able to keep those people here and allow them to go through the cancer treatment here at home,” Stout said.

In order for her son to receive his crucial treatment in Fort Worth, Cervantes decided to quit her job which has caused financial strain. While she is grateful that her son will be able to receive his treatment at home, she wishes this center would have been approved sooner.

“If we would have had it here, I would have kept my job. I would have continued working. I would have done many things differently but it wasn’t available then. I’m just happy now they have it and it will be done soon hopefully,” Cervantes said.

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