Now eleven years old, Peyton has been battling brain tumors since he was an infant, but the doctors said that there was nothing they could do, and his family was sent home with the prognosis that he likely would not survive a year. So when they received a call to enroll in a clinical trial at Texas Children’s Hospital, Peyton, his brother Landon, and his parents, Sheila and Charlie, rushed down to Houston.
Mom, Dad, and Peyton stayed in a hotel close to the hospital their first two nights, but both parents were worried about the expense of a long-term stay. Luckily, a social worker at the hospital referred them for a room at Ronald McDonald House Houston’s 50-bedroom Holcombe House. Peyton described the Holcombe House saying, “A hotel is just a hotel, but this is like your home, but somewhere far away from your real home. It’s just amazing.” Mom added to what Peyton said: “It is not personal in a hotel, but here you build relationships and become like a family.”
The Sanchez family has spent the past few years traveling every 28 days from their home in Colorado to Houston for treatments at Texas Children’s Hospital. Ronald McDonald House Houston eased much of the burden of being in a foreign city for the Sanchez family and let them focus all of their energy toward taking care of their son. At the time of Peyton and Sheila’s first stay at the Holcombe House, Peyton was being treated with steroids, which made him hungry all of the time. Before they arrived at the House, Sheila was very worried about how they would get to the grocery store to ensure that Peyton had access to enough food. Her fears were put to rest as soon as they arrived at the Holcombe House to discover the complimentary shuttle runs to the hospitals and grocery stores. Moreover, snacks and hot meals were served regularly at the House.
Despite all that he has been through, Peyton is a kid who is full of compassion and hope. Peyton began hosting an annual lemonade stand at a festival in the Sanchez’s hometown, before he was diagnosed with the brain stem tumor. Each year he gives the proceeds that he makes to a nonprofit organization. Peyton came up with this idea all on his own, and even when he was very sick, he insisted on having his lemonade stand. At last year’s stand, Peyton raised over $2,000 for Ronald McDonald House Houston in order to give back to the organization that has done so much for him.
Peyton is a fighter, and continues to battle his tumor. His family continues to support him as he receives treatment to keep the tumor at bay. As for Peyton, he says, “Life is good.”