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Brighton family asks for help as father fights two brain tumors in two years

Posted: 7:55 PM, Sep 04, 2023
Updated: 2023-09-05 17:36:03-04
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BRIGHTON, Colo. — A family in Brighton has learned just how much life can throw at them, after their father and breadwinner has fought two brain tumors in the past two years.

The tumors, surgeries, and medications have forced 40-year-old Ismael Franco out of work for the time being, and now his coworkers are asking Denver7 Gives viewers to help the family make ends meet until he can return to his job.

It was Nov. 2020 when life for the Francos was first turned upside down. Franco, a mechanic and hydraulic technician for Arnold Machinery Company in Denver, was on the job when felt his body start to fail him.

“I had like, stroke symptoms, where I lost complete signal to the left side of my body,” Franco recalled. “Went to the ER, and they ran an MRI, and they found a brain bleed.”

Doctors came to learn that Franco had a Grade III Meningioma, a very rare and aggressive form of brain tumor. Franco was taken into emergency surgery the next day to remove the tumor, and spent months undergoing radiation treatment.

Franco said that surgery was initially successful, and “gave me two years of life,” until the tumor was discovered again in February of this year. After another round of surgery and radiation, and now steroids and other medications, Franco has found himself unable to work and provide for the needs of his wife, 5-year-old daughter, and 1-year-old son.

“He can’t drive when he’s on steroids,” wife Lauren Franco explained. “So, he can’t go to work. And then on top of it, [he’s] dealing with heavy machinery which is really dangerous.”

It was one of Franco’s coworkers who reached out to Denver7 Gives, asking if the community could help the family make ends meet while Ismael is unable to work.

Brighton family asks for help as father fights two brain tumors in two years

“This man is one of the nicest, kindest and generous man you would ever want to meet and for him to have to go through this, just breaks our hearts,” Pam Lewis wrote to Denver7.

The Francos said they could really use help making their rent and utilities payments while Ismael is out of work. The time spent with reduced income so far has already eaten away at their savings, they said.

“Every time he goes out because of this brain tumor, [we] have to dip into that savings. So I mean day by day, expenses just add up,” Lauren said. “You know, we have to make it through because we have us and these two kids.”

Future for the Francos is still filled with unknowns. They don’t know yet when, or if, Ismael will be able to go back to his mechanic job. They also don’t know yet if his tumor will come back a third time, which would be devastating medically.

But, they’re choosing to be hopeful that they will have many happy and healthy years ahead as a family.

“Feeling great—just being a dad and tumor free,” Ismael said of his vision for the future. “I just want to live life.”

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