The cancer survivor on his way to becoming a football star

Meet a young man with big dreams.

Bolivian family

"The secret is to believe in your dreams, in your potential that you can be like your star, keep searching, keep believing and don’t lose faith in yourself." - Neymar

Ah the beautiful game. All through the world, children are dribbling, shooting and playing keepy-ups, dreaming of making it into the big leagues. In Bolivia, 10-year-old Luis loves football and even though he can’t afford his own ball, he plays every chance he gets. What makes Luis even more remarkable is that he lost his eye to cancer and yet he’s still the best player in his school.

Luis has a remarkable cancer story.

In 2012, Luis started to have fierce pain and itching in his left eye. His mother Jimena says, “We discovered the tumour because I took him to the doctor and she requested tomography. It was very expensive. A doctor examined him and said, ‘This eye is useless.’ I asked the doctors how much it would cost. They noticed I didn’t have money, so they didn’t pay attention to me. So the [Compassion] project helped me. They provided everything we needed. I went everywhere with the project staff because I can’t read or write. Luis was able to receive the surgery with a private doctor.”

After his eye was removed, Luis received a prosthetic eye and glasses. And only having one eye hasn’t held him back.

Riding a bike

His tutor, Arminda, says “When I watch him play, it’s impressive. He and his friends play really well. Despite his eye, he plays very well. We admire him for being a little boy playing with big boys and trouncing them. He hasn’t lost his passion. This boy inspires other to go ahead.”

To the excitement of the family, Luis was recently sponsored and has already told his sponsor all about his love for football. His mother is thankful for his sponsor’s support. “They are like a father and a mother, maybe depriving themselves from some things in order to send something for their sponsored children,” said Jimena.

Letter writing

Through child sponsorship, Luis has been given the opportunity to dream beyond his current circumstances and to discover his God-given talents. So here’s to the dreamers, the ones who believe, who strive and who never give up.


WORDS : Roz Walsh, Galia Oropeza

PHOTOS : Galia Oropeza



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