A Rio Rancho teen is fighting for his life after being diagnosed with brain cancer earlier this year, but he’s not fighting alone.
“He had the most amazing heart on the ice,” says Lt. Nick Onken.
Joseph Trujillo has loved hockey since he was a young boy and Lt. Onken of Rio Rancho Police was his first coach.
“He did not give up. Day after day. Practice after practice. He was out there with a big smile on his face. Pushing around a big paint bucket occasionally,” says Onken.
Back in March, Joseph got a concussion during a game. That’s when doctors told him something he never thought he’d hear.
“When I found out it was cancer…I’m not going to play again?” says Joseph.
Doctors say Joseph has Medulloblastoma, a form of brain cancer.
The news crushed Onken.
“When my family got word of his illness, it knocked the wind out of our sails,” Onken says.
That’s when Onken came up with an idea to help raise money for the Trujillo family.
“I let my co-workers, $10 a pop, take their turn with the clippers,” Onken says.
Surprised, but happy, Joseph says the gesture was just what he needed.
Joseph’s mom, Angel Trujillo, says she’s beyond grateful for the outpouring of support from Onken, RRPD and the community.
“I saw the pictures and I laughed and I said, oh my gosh. He looks pretty good with a bald head!” she says.
For the past few months, Joseph has been in and out of Presbyterian Hospital going through 31 rounds of radiation.
It’s a painful experience that Lt. Onken wishes he could take away from Joseph.
“I’ve had a good life. I would do it in a heartbeat for him,” he says.
Joseph’s mother says he has one round of chemo left and that will take place later this month. After that, they will have to wait for a year and a half to see if the cancer is gone.
The family has created a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of medical bills.