NEWPORT BEACH ( — It was the last thing this once healthy 36-year-old wife and mother of four thought she would face.

A brain tumor causing uncontrollable seizures.

That was four months ago. Surgery meant  risking paralysis for Yancy Portillo

But leaving the tumor to grow meant a death sentence.

In spite of the risks, Dr. Christopher Duma, along with two other surgeons at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach removed the tumor successfully. Only her arm is temporarily paralyzed.

“It was in a very very delicate area of her brain,” Duma  said.

“Stay with God. He has a plan for everything. Pray, pray, pray.”  Portillo said.

Portillo is on chemo for a year and just finished her 8th round of radiation.

Her recovery will be a long one.

“She’s on very expensive epileptic medication. I’m not talking about a year. I’m talking about ten years,” Duma said.

She’s grateful to be alive. But the mounting bills nearly cost her family the trailer home they’ve rented for 10 years.

Teachers at the kids’ school took notice and told the Newport Beach Fire dept. They needed help.

Yancy and her husband had to forgo two of the three jobs they normally carry so financially there’s a huge hardship.

If you would like to donate to help the Portillos  Click Here

Firefighters raised enough money to pay the family’s rent and bring in food. But now they’ve made the portillos their annual fire Santa family and they need help to support the family while Yancy recovers.

“Our total fundraising has been $5,000. She needs so much more than that,” Newport Beach firefighter Joe Harrison said.

“It’s really saying how God is with us. He’s always watching over our family and providing everything we need,”  17-year-old Paola Portillo said.


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