Ronald McDonald House helps teen with brain tumor

June 20, 2019 07:05 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — News10NBC is partnering with 92.5 WBEE and asking you to Bee a Hero with us to help support the Ronald McDonald House. The charity provides housing for the families of sick children receiving care in Rochester — housing that is provided at no cost to the families.

There are few things in life more stressful than watching your critically ill child fight for life. That’s the plight of parents staying at the Ronald McDonald House. But one mom and her son told News10NBC that when you’re in the fight of your life, there’s no place better than the comfort and care of the house that love built.


When 17-year-old Francisco Laboy Diaz walked into Sidney High School one Friday, he was shocked by the outpouring of support. Every student, teacher, and aide lined the halls applauding the kid they affectionately call Frankie. Drew Lewis of Big Drew Grafix in Binghamton, New York, shot and edited a video of Frankie's special day. Sidney CSD posted the video on YouTube.  

They called the occasion Fantastical Francisco Friday. It was their big send-off for Frankie who is facing one of the greatest challenges of his young life — his third brain tumor.  

He’s having daily radiation treatments in Rochester, three hours northwest of his home in Sidney.

"It's a long drive going and coming," Katiria Diaz, Frankie’s mother said.

So Frankie and Katiria are staying at the Ronald McDonald House on Westmoreland Drive during his nearly six weeks of treatment.

"It's far away from home, but it's my second home," Katiria said.

That's because it has all the conveniences of home — large comfortable television rooms, 24 big bedrooms as well as kitchens and laundry rooms. But for Katiria, the Ronald McDonald House is so much more.

"It's warm," she said. "You get to meet the staff. They're wonderful. You get to bond with the parents, and you get to know their stories."

She also gets the opportunity to share her own story.  And what a story Katiria and Frankie have to tell. 

Frankie was three when he was diagnosed with his first noncancerous brain tumor.  

"As a mom, a million things came in my mind like, ‘Oh my God! This is for real! My son has a tumor.’"

Frankie’s first tumor was in 2006. Then the tumor returned in 2013 and then again in April of this year.

"Yeah, it was scary, a little bit. But I'm in good hands. God is here to help me. And I can do the best I can. I'm a champion!" Frankie said, smiling broadly.

His mother says the letter “C” formed by his surgery scar stands for courage. And while surgery impaired him physically and cognitively, nothing can quell Frankie's infectious love of life.

It’s a love he shares with all who meet him. Frankie's family hopes treatment in Rochester helps continue to share his bright smile for years to come as they provide the support he needs in the house that love built.

Just last year, the Ronald McDonald House saved families more than $1 million by providing free housing. The charity gets no public money as it relies completely on donations. 

News10NBC asks that on Friday, June 21, you join us and Bee a Hero. We're teaming up with 92.5 WBEE for BEE a Hero Day to help the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester for WBEE's 31st annual fundraiser!

Put on your cape and pass the collection bucket around the office to make a donation in cash or check LIVE on-air during BEE a Hero Day! You can donate by phone (585-424-HELP) or online Friday, June 21, from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

News10NBC will be live there all day starting at 5 a.m. on News10NBC Today!

More information about BEE a Hero Day can be found here.


Deanna Dewberry

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