At 11, a cancer survivor

- Since the age of 8, Jesus Padilla has been very sick.

"He developed fevers, had a hard time breathing. We took him to Sarasota Memorial and realized that his blood level was really low," explained his mom, Martha Castillo.

"It took a long time to breathe," Jesus offered.

And after his first hospital visit, his condition only got worse.

"He ended up with pneumonia," his mom continued. "We came back a month later and he ended up with swine flu, pneumonia, and on top of that, we were told he had thyroid cancer."

Dr. Pallavi Iyer says the team at All Children's Hospital had seen this type of thyroid cancer before, but rarely in children.

"We know how to treat thyroid cancer. It's with radioactive iodine, but we couldn't do it with Jesus because he was in the ICU and he wasn't getting any better," Dr. Iyer recalled. "So the only thing we could think to help him was to try this medicine."

She gave him a drug that had never really been used in this way before.

"He responded extremely well to that," Iyer said.

Soon, he was off the breathing tube.

"Lucky for all of us, he really pulled through very well," she continued.

Jesus' family is grateful to the team at All Children's.

"They're part of our family," Martha offered.

At 10 years old, Jesus still has regular doctors' visits, but his recovery has been nothing short of a miracle.

"He walks around, he goes to school, he plays with his brothers and sisters. He just attended his sister's wedding last weekend," his mom exclaimed.

And knowing he can do all those things lets everyone, including Jesus, breathe a little easier.

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