What are the odds that three very different young men living hundreds of miles from one another would forge a friendship? Yet, that’s exactly what happened. Edgar, Erik, and Sebastian, all in their 20’s, were just getting started as young adults pursuing their dreams when their lives were suddenly upended with a diagnosis of cancer.
Edgar, 24, worked with his brother Sergio and his father Baltazar in the family’s landscaping business in LaPorte, Indiana. Edgar was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare and aggressive bone cancer, just two days before Christmas in 2019, and he’s been battling the disease ever since. “It really changed my life,” Edgar shared. He and his family stayed at Fair Haven for seven months in 2020 while Edgar received intensive chemotherapy. Then, in the spring of 2023, Edgar was told that the cancer had come back. This time, Edgar had to have his right leg amputated and undergo months of chemotherapy to prevent the cancer from spreading. But Edgar is a fighter. Even while he continues his treatments, he has already been fitted for a prosthetic leg. He says he’s determined to do landscaping again!
Erik, 29, is a very talented chef. Before coming to Indiana, he cooked at his family’s restaurant in Puerto Rico. Then Erik was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He underwent chemotherapy in Puerto Rico, but those treatments failed. Desperate for a cure, he and his mom Erika and his stepdad Charlie dropped everything and got one-way plane tickets to Indianapolis. It was very difficult for Erik to leave his 3-year-old son, Gabriel, behind. “He’s very special to me,” Erik shared. “That bond makes me want to fight harder. It makes me tougher and stronger…because I have a purpose to be with my son.”
Sebastian, 22, enjoys working out and doing art. He also loves adventure. Sebastian purchased a small RV and had dreams of traveling with his dog, Willa. Those plans were brought to a halt when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Sebastian began chemotherapy near his home in Boerne, Texas, and quickly made friends at the cancer clinic. He says that he enjoyed listening to others at the clinic when they needed to talk and showing them his art. “They liked looking at my art,” he said. “They say it gives them life.” After standard chemotherapy failed, Sebastian and his mom, Virginia, and his dad, Stephen, packed up and drove almost 1,200 miles to Indianapolis so that Sebastian could receive the specialized care he needed to beat his disease.
The three young men met each other while staying at Fair Haven. They fostered a friendship founded upon their common experience. Along with their families, they gathered for meals and birthday celebrations. The guys texted one another, sharing words of strength and encouragement. Edgar told us, “We went from strangers to friends. It helps knowing I am not the only young person going through some tough situations…If they can do it, I can do it.”
Although each of them faces a battle of life-and-death, they’ve found that healing is not only manifested in physical ways, but in communal and spiritual ways, too. “It has been wonderful to be able to give hope and to receive it as well,” said Erik. “We must give away the blessing we’ve been given.”
When things get really tough, the friends help to keep each other going strong. “Some days I just want to lay down,” Sebastian shared. “But at the end of the day, I’m grateful because I’ve got my triangle [of friends]. We’re in this together.”
“Two are better than one…If either of them falls down, one can help the other up…A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10, 12 (NIV)
“We’re in this together.” – Sebastian Hernandez, 22, Boerne, Texas
Through your support, Fair Haven provides a home-away-from-home for families battling a serious illness. Bring hope to families today with your gift of support.