"It is heartbreaking to see this young girl have to endure the emotional, mental and physical challenges of leukemia treatment without someone she knows and trusts by her side," her doctor said.
Without her mother sitting by her bedside, without her mother's arms around her to give her hope that she can make it out of the hospital healthy, 14-year-old Ixcell Perez was fighting her battle against leukemia alone.
Her mother, Dalia Perez was blocked from entering the country, which meant Ixcell had no parent around as she was receiving treatment from the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, according to ABC News.
"It's not easy to be here without her," Ixcell said in a video, as reported by ABC11. "It's not easy to have her so far away."
Ixcell was born to Dalia, a resident of Raleigh, North Carolina, when she was in the country on temporary visa. The mother and daughter moved to Chiapas, Mexico in 2010 when Dalia's visa expired, as reported by Mail Online. But when Ixcell developed a life-threatening disease, Dalia did her best to get her daughter to the United States to get her the treatment that could potentially save her life.
Dalia described the situation when she arrived at the border with her daughter, who was visibly unwell. In a cold room, the two of them were locked in the afternoon until someone finally came the next day, at 3 pm in the afternoon.
All that was available was a mat on the floor. "They took everything away from us," said Dalia, in a video made by Solidarity Now. "They took us into a room. In the afternoon, they left us in a cold room but it was so cold and my daughter was feeling so sick. I pounded on the door and shouted for them to open it, but no. My child was so thirsty but no one would listen to me."
Talking about her conversation with the border official, Dalia said "I made a declaration and they asked me if I was seeking political asylum, if someone was trying to kill or persecute me. I said, ‘No, the only reason I want to enter the United States is my daughter’s illness. She has leukemia and I brought all the papers,'" as reported by Good Morning America.
The mother remembers border patrol officials telling her, "Look up and pray to God that he'll take the cancer away." Dalia was separated from Ixcell, who was taken by her uncle to Raleigh and admitted to the hospital.
"I had not prepared myself to be without her. Yes, I want her to be here to take care of me," Ixcell said, desperately hoping that her mother would be allowed back into the country.
Cancer-stricken teen faces treatment in the US alone after border agents deny her mother entry: Fourteen-year-old Ixcell Sandoval Perez is battling leukemia in North Carolina, but her mother can’t be by her side because she’s trapped in Mexico, ABC 30… https://t.co/SpIgNn7FHF pic.twitter.com/Jy1o5aZSuC— NotComey (@notComey) August 27, 2019
Rev. Carla Gregg-Kearns who visited the young girl in the hospital said, "I think it’s very clear how desperately she wants her mom to be with her. That is really an emotionally overwhelming experience, to go through this sort of grave illness without the support of a parent."
Her pediatric oncologist at the hospital, Michael D. Deel wrote to border authorities and said, "The physical and emotional aspects of receiving therapy for leukemia are too much for any child to endure without the support of close family members... It is heartbreaking to see this young girl have to endure the emotional, mental and physical challenges of leukemia treatment without someone she knows and trusts by her side."
The wish to see her mother soon was fulfilled. Dalia was given a temporary waiver and reunited with her daughter. Doctors decided that she was well enough to make a trip to the local airport to welcome her mother. And after months of being apart, they cried in each other's arms when they finally met.
While Ixcell still has to continue her fight for good health, she now has her mother to lean on for strength and support.
Dalia was stranded on the border and separated from Ixcell for four long months. Broad coverage in both US and international media helped get her across the border.— Red T Raccoon (@RedTRaccoon) August 29, 2019
As Ixcell begins a new round of cancer treatments, her mother is at her bedside. pic.twitter.com/6bqET96zfn