LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A local nurse is getting some help from the Lubbock medical community. In March, a charity event will be held for Juan Alvarado, 35, who suffers from a rare form of brain cancer known as chordoma, a type of cancer that is only diagnosed in one out of one million people each year. Friends and family are joining together to raise money to help Alvarado with medical bills, supporting his family while he is unable to work, and travel expenses for specialized medical care.
The event will take place on Sunday, March 3, at Buffalo Wild Wings at 8212 University Avenue from 5 to 10 PM. 10 percent of all food sales for the night will help cover the cost of medical expenses. Lubbock musicians Ty Dy Haze and Los Iguanas will provide entertainment for the night and drawings will be held for an array of prizes donated by Lubbock businesses.
Alvarado began suffering from some acute vision loss in December 2012 and was diagnosed with a rare type of brain/skull cancer on his 35th birthday in January 2013. Alvarado has undergone two brain surgeries to remove the tumor, but the entire tumor has not been successfully removed. Alvarado will begin to receive care from one of only two institutions in Pennsylvania or Massachusetts.
Alvarado was born and raised in Lamesa, Texas, with his two sisters and one brother. He has two beautiful little girls, ages 7 and 10. Alvarado graduated in 1996 from Lamesa High School and from South Plains College in 1999 as a registered nurse. He then earned his Bachelor's of Science in nursing degree at LCU while also receiving his paramedic license from South Plains College. He started his career as an RN as a travel nurse working in a variety of Intensive Care Units; including, Neuro ICU, Shock Trauma ICU, Cardiac ICU, Medical ICU. Alvarado worked in Cardiac Critical Care Unit, on South 8, and the in the Adult Emergency Room at Covenant Medical Center, before becoming a flight nurse and flight paramedic for Aerocare in 2007.
Chordomas are a rare, slow growing neoplasm, an abnormal mass of tissue that can arise from bone in the skull base and anywhere along the spine. While most people with Chordoma have no other family members with the disease, rare occurrences of multiple cases within families have been documented. In most cases, complete surgical resection followed by radiation therapy offers the best chance of long-term control. Incomplete resection of the primary tumor makes controlling the disease more difficult and increases the odds of recurrence. Chordomas are relatively radioresistant, requiring high doses of radiation to be controlled. The proximity of chordomas to vital neurological structures such as the brain stem and nerves limits the dose of radiation that can safely be delivered. Therefore, highly focused radiation such as proton therapy and carbon ion therapy are more effective than conventional x-ray radiation.