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Girl's Homecoming Delayed: Her House Could Kill Her
Mold Has Taken Over Family's Corona Home

December 27, 2002

ORANGE, Calif. -- The homecoming for hospitalized leukemia patient Camarae Casillas is being delayed because her house could kill her.

The 14-year-old didn't get her wish to go home for Christmas after treatments at Children's Hospital of Orange County because mold has taken over the family home in Corona.

"She's really strong and focuses on what she needs to do," said her mom, Elizabeth Casillas, 32. "But on Christmas, she was crying."

The teenager desperately wanted to go home for Christmas.

"I wanted to be with my family," Camarae said.

Doctors, who reported she was doing well with chemotherapy and won't need a bone marrow transplant, said the girl could be ready to go home next week.

But she can't. Broken pipes in August flooded the family home and mold has now invaded.

"We can't live there now. It's uninhabitable," Casillas said. "It's not even safe for my other children."

Camarae's doctors said the girl's weakened immune system wouldn't be able to handle exposure to mold and it could cause irreversible fungal infections in her lungs.

"We are trying to find out if our home is even salvageable now," Mrs. Casillas said. "If it isn't, then we'll have to give it up and move into an apartment and start over."

When Camarae is released, the family plans to move into the Ronald McDonald House in Orange. But only until the rooms are needed for another patient.

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