Noel’s Story

Real Stories


You never imagine that a day will arrive where a doctor says, “Your son has a brain tumour, he’s got cancer”. Suddenly, the world stops turning; you can’t think clearly, you panic. Cancer – that word we all know, one that we automatically associate with death. “My son is only 8 years old, how is this possible?”.

This happened to me almost 4 years ago. From then on, we have had to face months of aggressive treatments (surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy). When the process finally came to an end, and my son was pronounced “clean” (there was no trace of the tumour), we finally began to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and were able to return to our normal life, far away from the hospital.

What I didn’t expect was that, approximately one year later, the darkness would descend upon us again. One day you get a call from the doctor to talk about the results of the latest MRI scan and your worst nightmare becomes real with the hated words: “The cancer has returned”.

Giving up was not an option. We found a research project relevant to my son’s diagnosis but did not have the necessary funding. The project was being developed by CRIS Cancer at Hospital de Niño Jesus, in Madrid. We decided to create a fundraising initiative within their website to contribute to the project. Our initial goal was to raise 5,000 Euro.

What happened? The completely unexpected. In two days, we had raised 10,000 Euro! We were astounded. It turned out that the people in our village were 100% behind the project. This is why we decided to go ahead with attempting to raise the full 330,000 Euro necessary for the project at La Paz Hospital, which seeks a cure that to date does not exist for our children.

There followed months of tireless work. There were days when there was not enough time to attend to everyone’s proposals to organise events: parties, matches, marches, races, jumble sales, etc.

I was totally overwhelmed by this limitless solidarity, and by how strongly this had united so many people. We felt engulfed in their invisible embrace. Today, 7 months later, we have raised 300,000 Euro. A great many people are aware of the illness, and acknowledge the need to invest in research, because RESEARCH GIVES LIFE.

Noel is not cured, but now at least the doors of hope are wide open, thanks to research.


Sonia González Santos, mother of Noel, lives with her two in Betanzos (a little town in Galicia, Spain). This family of three has faced immense tragedy, having lost the father to a brain tumour soon after Noel’s diagnosis and start of treatment. It is this amazing mother’s sister, Monica, who has been their source of strength – she was the one who identified a doctor to help treat Noel. Sonia and Noel have to travel to Madrid every time the boy needs to receive treatment. The harsh reality is that 30% of these cases suffer a relapse during the years following treatment. Finding a cure requires that we all UNITE.