Season for Caring: For Diana Castro, youngest son’s cancer treatments might end oldest son’s college dream
By Cedric Golden
December 1, 2018
YouTube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WZI0OPK8iM
Diana Castro’s oldest son loves history.
As a 6-year-old kid growing up in Dallas, Noah Castro was intrigued by the stories surrounding the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
“I discovered so many conspiracy theories about it,” he told the American-Statesman via email. “The mafia, CIA, Russian, Cuban, and others were responsible for his assassination and that led me to research on other histories. To this today, I still do research on John F. Kennedy’s assassination. This is the reason I’m a history buff.”
Noah Castro, 20, is a sophomore at Gallaudet University, a school for the deaf and hearing impaired. His family, which moved to Austin years ago, is part of the Statesman’s Season for Caring program, which helps hundreds of families each year through local nonprofit agencies. The Castros were nominated by Any Baby Can.
Diana Castro, 50, dreams of one day watching her son walk across the stage at Gallaudet with his college degree, but she worries daily that the family won’t be able to afford his tuition and housing given the financial challenges she is facing as the family’s sole breadwinner. Diana Castro works three part-time jobs; her husband, Marsello Castro, 51, had a stroke and has diabetes and lives in Dallas with his sister.
Noah Castro and his family, who are all deaf, were rocked by the news in July 2017 that his youngest brother Marc, now 9, had been diagnosed with leukemia. Since then, the family is $43,000 in debt to the Dell Children’s Medical Center’s Children’s Blood & Cancer Center for Marc’s treatments, which will cost more than $100,000 for a two-year regimen. The Castros are also more than $4,000 in debt to the city on their utility bills.
Noah Castro said he was torn when he left for college because he didn’t want to be so far away from Marc, his favorite video game opponent. He communicates with Marc, his parents, and sisters Alyssa, 24, and Anissa, 11, all the time through a videophone and text messages.
“It’s really tough (being away) because I really love my little brother so much,” he says. “I never saw this coming. It’s really shocking to this family especially when you found out that (Marc) is battling cancer. It’s really hits me hard because I know he’s got so much (of a) future ahead of him and (then) the cancer (appeared) in his life.”
Diana Castro said Noah had a rough spell academically when he first got to school, but things are on the upswing.
“It would mean so much for this family for him to graduate,” she said. “I have a deaf brother that went to Gallaudet and didn’t graduate. Noah is working hard. He always tells me, ‘Mom, I want to teach history to deaf kids. I want to give back.’”
In addition to help with Noah’s college expenses, the family needs car repairs, a washer, a dryer, furniture, clothing and iPads to help them communicate.
To find out more about the Castro family or to give an item on their wish list, contact Any Baby Can at 512-454-3743, http://www.AnyBabyCan.org.
A better education is one of the things on many Season for Caring families’ wish lists. Jennifer Tate, 47, a single mom who is raising her son in a recreational vehicle, would love to get her teaching degree. To help, contact SAFE Alliance, 512-267-7233, http://www.safeaustin.org.
Bushra Haroun, 46, who came here from Iraq in 2014, would like to get job training so that she can support her family, which includes her husband, Idris, who is disabled, and her four children. Interfaith Action of Central Texas, 512-386-9145, Ext. 7, http://www.interfaithtexas.org.
Andrea and Giselle Arias Zarate helped their mother, Mirtha Lugo, 53, study to become a U.S. citizen. Now she would like to give her 15- and 14-year-old daughters the chance to go to college one day. Foundation Communities, 512-615-4758, http://www.foundcom.org.
Eric Tuyishime, 19, who came with his mother, Jacqueline Murorunkwere, and siblings to America in 2016 from a refugee camp in Rwanda, would love to go to college. He’s taking college-level classes as a senior in high school. Caritas of Austin, 512-646-1277, http://www.caritasofaustin.org.
Basil Seals, 42, who just lost his wife to cervical cancer, would like to make sure his daughters Beth, 16, and Sabrina, 18, get to go to college. CareBox Program, 512-296-2180, http://www.careboxprogram.org.