About Us

The Arroyo Family

“Being a part of PADRES Contra El Cáncer has made all the difference in the world,” said Federico Arroyo.  “Apart from the services and education, they also gave us one critical ingredient: HOPE.”

Federico’s daughter Emma Arroyo was diagnosed with cancer in May 2006 at the age of 3.    Little Emma initially spent over a month hospitalized at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.  Today, Emma is in the maintenance part of her treatment and responding well.  Despite the positive outlook, the journey to fight their child’s cancer was not without difficulties for the Arroyo family. 

Like many other PADRES families, the Arroyo family has had to adjust to the hospitalizations, dealing with Emma’s siblings Alessandro and Joaquin at home, and the recent introduction of newborn Mateo.  In a recent conversation with Emma’s mother, Alice shared that her eldest son Alessandro could not comprehend Emma’s cancer diagnosis and felt alienated from the attention he perceived was being given only to Emma.  Alice was devastated when Alessandro shared with her that he wished he was the one with cancer, a very common psychological occurrence for children dealing with siblings who have cancer.  Also one experienced by many other PADRES families.

Even though Emma is the sole girl amongst three boys and thinks of herself as daddy’s princess, Mom works hard to make sure Emma is treated like her other children. She is given daily chores and is treated equal to her brothers.  Emma currently attends pre-K and will start kindergarten in the fall of 2008.  Like any normal 4 year-old, Emma enjoys puzzles and is enamored with the Walt Disney character, Ariel.  Although she may be short in stature, she is tall in spirit and has been a fighter since being diagnosed. 


“She is an amazing child,” says Alice.  “She is a little girl with an old soul.  No matter how difficult things have gotten she pulls through and bounces back to her normal, active, talkative self.” 

“It was very difficult for us,” says Emma’s father.  “We were preparing for the birth of a child only to find out that my baby girl had cancer. Cancer has tested our family in so many ways. Fortunately it has brought us closer and made each of us stronger.”

The Arroyo family has been active members of the PADRES program for over a year and a half—participating in many activities and events including Café con Leche, the Thanksgiving and Halloween programs, and the Holiday Posada Celebration.

The Arroyo family lives in the San Fernando Valley (California).  They appreciate that PADRES’ activities and events are inclusive to any family that has a child with cancer or has had a child with cancer.