• By Dana Sparks

Helping Others Heal: Arizona superhero uses power of proton beam

June 6, 2018


Airick Amaya pretended to be Batman as he spun around, kicking the air. But, this time, he was rewarded with candy. It was Halloween, and like every other 4-year-old, he had one goal: to fill his trick-or-treating bucket to the top.

Still buzzing from the candy the next day, Airick was jumping on the couch singing when he fell and hit his head. "I thought he had just eaten too much candy," says his mother, Vanessa Bonillas. But, when he began throwing up for what seemed like hours, Vanessa thought otherwise.

Airick's parents took him to Phoenix Children's Hospital emergency department. "I kept thinking he must really have hit his head hard for him to be this ill," says Vanessa. Airick was admitted for hemorrhaging in his brain.

A subsequent MRI confirmed a golf ball-size tumor on the left side of Airick's brain. Surgery was scheduled immediately. Vanessa confides, "Two weeks earlier, I had a gut-wrenching feeling that something was wrong. I thought about my family and myself, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I never thought this feeling would be about my son." Read the rest of Airick's story.

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