DALLAS — Leone Hernandez was scared and his parents could see the fear on his face.
Every visit to the hospital he worried he’d feel an “ouchie.” And there were a lot of hospital visits.
The three-year-old Plano boy was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2021.
Leukemia is the most common childhood cancer and is quite treatable. But the treatment is chemo and that’s what frightened Leone.
To tap into courage that his mother, Natalia, and father, Dario, knew their son had, they decided to dress him up as a superhero.
But they didn’t stop there. They dressed up, too.
They bought Superman, Spiderman, Batman and Captain America costumes for their family – even Leone’s big brother Emiliano.
Now for each chemo visit and doctor appointment, the entire family suits up to activate their superpower.
“We believe we have the superpowers that we need to face this battle,” Natalia said. “We have to make sure Leo feels that.”
“We do it to make sure he feels the power.”
Dr. Laura Klesse, Leone’s doctor at Children’s Medical Center, said there’s a clear connection between the mind and body in cancer outcomes.
Family support matters.
“Their family has taken this with, we’re family, we’re taking this, and we’re all going to do it together,” Klesse said.
Natalia is a restaurant director for Mi Cocina and during the last weekend in April, Mi Cocina donated a portion of its proceeds to Children’s Health.
Natalia said Leone has inspired his whole family.
“It’s difficult to watch him battle,” she said, “but he has shown us everything is possible in life.”
For more information about helping kids like Leone, go to RedBalloonLeague.com.