WHAT started as a headache has now turned fatal for former Fairvale High School student Christopher de Jesus Ortiz.
On February 10, the 20-year-old was told by doctors he had less than 12 months to live after they found a brain tumour the size of an orange.
The Hoxton Park resident said he was devastated by the news because he originally sought medical advice after experiencing minor headaches.
"The first time I went to the doctors, they sent me home and said the headaches were due to stress," he said.
"But when I continued to get them, I went back and they did a computed tomography (CT) scan.
"That's where they found the tumour."
Mr Ortiz was diagnosed shortly after with a rare brain cancer — glioblastoma grade 4.
While most cancers can be treated, the doctors told him there was no treatment for this type of cancer here in Australia.
"I was told that I could undergo radiation and chemotherapy but that would only prolong my life; it would not get rid of the cancer," Mr Ortiz said.
"The news hit me really hard; my whole family began to cry. It was really tough."
Fighting back tears, his mother Julia said she never expected to hear the terrible news.
"It's something unexplainable — when a doctor says this is where your life ends and we can't help you," she said.
"When we heard the news, it destroyed our life. It was like a tsunami."
While there is no treatment for the cancer in Australia, there is treatment available in Cuba.
But like most overseas medication, it comes at a hefty price: nearly $120,000 for injections, which Mr Ortiz will be required to take once a week for two months.
The young man will travel with his father Giovanni and sister to Cuba on Saturday in a bid to save his life.
"I'm looking forward to the treatment and I'm keeping really positive about it," Christopher said.
His father was also positive and said he was glad there was treatment available.
"I'm not going to close my arms and let my son die," he said.
"I'm going to do what I can to save his life.
"It's very expensive so we're going to have to take out a loan to pay for it."
The family have spent weeks trying to raise funds by holding fund-raising events, garage sales, and selling T-shirts.
So far the family have raised $27,262 — nowhere near the $120,000 they need.
To support Chris, make a donation: Saving Chris Trust Account. BSB: 062-709. Account: 10163925 or visit gofundme.com/7jx4n0.
For more information about Chris, visit: tinyurl.com/pkvaj3m.