Broken Arrow Boy Remembered Day Before 12th Birthday
BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma - Victor Martinez, 11, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in March. The DIPG brain tumor had developed around his brain stem making it impossible to remove.
In January, his mom remembers the first sign of symptoms: "He would be laying on the couch and he would cover up his eye to watch TV and I said, 'are you having a hard time seeing the TV' and he said 'yeah, I see two of everything.'"
What was supposed to be a simple trip to the eye doctor turned into a nightmare for Victor and his family.
"They told me on the phone he has a growth on his brain stem, and you need go straight to the emergency room," Victor’s mom Tracie Wright recalls.
At the hospital they performed an MRI which showed a growth around Victor’s brain stem. That growth turned out to be a deadly DIPG brain tumor.
"I kept saying, 'Oh my God.' I must have said it 10 times, and I was just hysterically crying. I got myself together. I went back into the room with him, and he says, 'Mommy, did you hear that woman crying out in the hallway?'"
Tracie admitted that she never told Victor the woman in the hallway was really her - learning that he was diagnosed with a terminal illness. She remembers the doctor giving her the gut-wrenching news point blank: "He says, No, he won’t survive this. There is no cure. You need to just go home and make some memories.'"
Within a week Tracie and Victor were on an airplane to Augusta, Georgia for treatment. In Georgia, Victor endured 30 rounds of chemo in three months. After the trial they came back to Broken Arrow where Victor's health started to decline.
Tracie reflected on his life, telling us: he loved robotics, he was talented at math and was great at algebra. He loved Christmas, the color blue, telling jokes and especially his best friend Jacob.
"He was compassionate, very selfless especially towards the end," Wright said.
In fact, when Victor’s family celebrated Christmas in October, he made his mom promise that all of his toys would go to his best friend Jacob when he died. Tracie tells me they are still going through toys to continue giving to Jacob.
Those eight months, of course, had their ups and downs, but Tracie says for the most part Victor was high spirited.
"Once a month he’d have a complete meltdown - he would cry, get angry, ask why, and I would just let it out," she said.
Victor died on October 29th at his home. Tracie says he died in her arms in their living room.
We’ve been reporting on a little girl in Glenpool, Bailey Dodson, 4, who is also battling the same DIPG brain tumor. It has been 11 months since Bailey was diagnosed and right now her tumor has shrunk with radiation down to the size of a marble.
Tracie and Bailey’s parents, Lisa and Jack Dodson, have become friends online, bonding over the same awful experience.
"I see every stage. I recognize and know exactly what they’re going through," Wright said. "I mean there are some differences - there are so many similarities, it’s uncanny."
Learn more about Victor at his Facebook page: "V is for Victorious Victor."