Hi, my name is Desiree Forbes and for those of you who don’t know for the past year my dear brother Carlos has been fighting a rare blood cancer called Multiple Myeloma. Over the years, in times that others have needed help and had many needs my family and I have been gladly ready to help with an open heart and hand.  When it comes to sharing our needs and asking for help, well, that’s a different story. It’s taken a lot of thought, humility, courage and consideration for us to come to this place where we are now publicly asking for help from all our friends and family. 

Carlos’s Story:

Everything first started with back pain. Carlos sought medical treatment by an orthopedic surgeon, and he told Carlos that his fractures were typically a result to an injury or accident. Carlos didn’t experience either one. At this point, why the fractures occurred was unknown. The surgery was performed in November of 2020. It was supposed to relieve Carlos of his back pain almost immediately however, after the surgery he was still in pain. A couple of months later, he had more MRIs and a bone density test to rule out osteoporosis and cancer in the bone. 

On March 8, 2021, his wife took him to the ER as he was having trouble breathing. He had a large blood clot in his left lung which almost killed him. They also found that a third of his back was fractured which explained all the pain he was in. The blood clot and fractures were all a result of the cancer. 

As you can imagine this cancer has completely changed the lives of our family! Carlos and his wife, Ana, have been together since they were teenagers (over 25 years ago!) and they have been married since 2005. They have two daughters, Amelia, who is 12 and Olivia, who is 8. Over the last year they have been trying to adjust to this new life learning more about this certain type of cancer, learning how this new diagnosis changes thing drastically in their everyday life, taking all measures to keep Carlos as healthy as possible (which has been a bit challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic) all while also taking every measure possible to stay strong and fight this cancer journey together.  Amelia and Olivia love their dad so much and as you can imagine, at their age, they miss being able to do simple things with him like riding bikes, playing volleyball, or giving him a big hug. They must be very careful with him as his bones are so fragile. Again, a third of his back is fractured due to the cancer.

What is Multiple Myeloma?

Multiple Myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells. The plasma cells are a type of white blood cell in the bone marrow. With this condition, a group of plasma cells becomes cancerous and multiplies. The disease can damage the bones, immune system, kidneys, and red blood cell count. It occurs most commonly in people over 60. The average age at diagnosis is 70. Only 2% of cases occur in people under 40. Carlos was diagnosed at just 39 years old.  We try to steer away from talking about the lifespan of someone who’s been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma as we don’t like to give that stuff power and life.  (In fact, our friends and family are standing with us and hoping and praying for a complete and total healing!)  We know God is the great physician and he ultimately has the final say over Carlos’s life. We have seen him heal sickness and diseases before and we believe he can do it again.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever! As we wait to see God’s perfect will unfold, we humbly ask you to continue to lift him up in prayer (specifically in the healing of chromosome #17) but we would also humbly ask you to be open, if you feel impressed on your heart, to share your resources and help my brother’s family financially.

New News:

Carlos is starting his stem cell transplant at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida on April 4th, 2022. This is good news because it means his Mspike (which are his tumor markers) are low enough to begin treatment. The treatment itself is about two months long and then he will continue recovery at home afterwards. 

Current Needs:

As of right now, we need to find lodging for him no more than 30 minutes outside of Moffitt.  This is required so in case he has any complications he won’t be far from the hospital. The American Cancer Society Hope Lodge program offers a free “home away from home” for cancer patients and their caregivers and we have applied but we are awaiting to find out if they’ll have a room available and if he’ll be accepted.  Please pray over this! It would be a tremendous blessing.  Apart from the lodging expenses, their family will have different traveling expenses as his wife will be traveling back and forth from Tampa to Venice. (Which is about a four hour round trip.) In addition to all these extra expenses, they will continue to have their regular daily, weekly, and monthly bills- all while Carlos (the family’s sole provider) is unable to work. Also, the grants they have obtained to help with medical bills have begun to expire. As you can imagine, one of these things alone can feel overwhelming but together all of this has placed a huge financial burden on the family and depending on how his body responds to the stem cell replacement he could easily be out of work for anywhere up to 6 months. 

The Man, The Myth, The Legend:

Carlos is an amazing, compassionate, fun, loving, responsible, caring human. He is a loving husband, and an amazing father.  He’s selfless and is always willing to help someone in need. Anyone who knows him knows this about him. Despite him battling cancer, he has kept a great perspective and positive attitude.  

Carlos is also a hard worker. Just two months before he was diagnosed with cancer, he started his own air conditioning business. He is the sole provider for his family and due to this cancer diagnosis over the last year their family’s savings account has been completely depleted.

This cancer has brought Carlos so much pain but even in his pain his hope is that his story can help someone else. Carlos has courageously agreed to allow Moffitt to collect his data for research studies, as his case is extremely rare because of his age. Carlos says, “If having this cancer can offer help to doctors in some way to help others after me, then it’s worth it”.

Please Help:

We are banding together to take the pressure off so that Carlos can get the treatment he needs without the stress of finances. Please consider helping my brother and his family during their time of need. No donation is too small, anything helps. Your generous support is truly appreciated. All our love. ♥