MENIFEE (CBSLA.com) — A Menifee man who has confronted challenges as both a marine and law enforcement officer is now facing the biggest battle of his life.
Sal Aguirre and his wife, Kristi, have three children: teenagers Keira and Cheyene and 10-year-old Jacob.
“They’re doing good. It’s hard,” Kristi says through tears.
She’s had a hard time stretching the truth – that Sal has AML5 or acute monocytic leukemia.
Sal worries that he’ll miss the milestones in his kids’ lives.
“Think about the graduations. Think about watching them get married. Little things like that,” he says.
So far, chemotherapy is doing the job. He’s in remission, and he’s a fighter. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and now, he’s a Riverside County Sheriff’s deputy.
Heading to work last May 9, he called his wife. He said he had a stomach ache and his gums were bleeding. Kristi typed those symptoms into Google and what she found – leukemia – scared her.
“It scared me because he’s always been the healthy one,” she says.
Sal spent the next two months at Kaiser Permanente in Riverside. In fact, he’s spent four of the last six months there and will be back for three weeks of treatment around Christmastime. After that, there’s no guarantee.
“There is a high probability that the cancer will come back within 30 to 90 days,” Sal says.
“If it comes back, he’ll have probably less than six months to live,” Aguirre’s wife says.
His only real hope is a bone marrow transplant, and so far, there are no matches. Without the bone marrow transplant, chances of survival are slim to none.
As Sal points out, Latinos are on the list of ethnic groups that don’t register in large numbers to be a possible bone marrow match. More bone marrow donors are desperately needed.
“We don’t know; we don’t know how long we have,” Kristi says.
The family’s only hope is for someone they don’t know to become a lifesaver for Sal through the bone marrow registry. To register, visit Be The Match.