It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of our dear friend and sweet Angel Paola Tereza Argueta-Mata born November. 7, 2009 who succumbed to hepatoblastoma (liver cancer) on September 26, 2012, at the Halquist Memorial Inpatient Center (Capital Caring), in Arlington, Virginia. She was first diagnosed at Children’s National Medical Center, Washington DC, at age 14 months and had been treated. She was enrolled as a hospice patient with Capital Caring (through Virginia Medicaid), and her family had been granted a vacation to Walt Disney World through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Clinic staff and volunteers collected several items and provided backpacks for the family members to keep them occupied during the 17-hour train ride.
Unfortunately their train was delayed about five hours, and Paola became dehydrated. Immediately upon their arrival in Sanford, Paola was taken directly to Celebration Health Florida Hospital in Kissimmee where she was diagnosed with liver failure and dehydration, then subsequently transferred to Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando. During her stay the family was told that no treatment would reverse her liver failure. They decided to bring Paola back home to Virginia to live out her few remaining days and began the long drive on Monday morning. Make-A-Wish provided funds to help the family with food, shelter and transportation while Paola was hospitalized, but on discharge her father used the remaining funds to purchase Paola’s medications. (Virginia Medicaid does not pay for any medical expenses for patients travelling out of the state.)
Only a few hours into their trip Paola began to worsen and was admitted to Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital in Dunn, NC. The hospital staff felt she would likely not survive the remainder of the trip home and could die at any moment. A wonderful social worker at the hospital then contacted the founder and CEO of a local company (Warren Oil) and arranged for a corporate jet to carry Paola from Dunn to Leesburg, and Capital Caring agreed to accept her at their inpatient facility.
On Wednesday afternoon, Warren Oil transported Paola from the hospital to the airport, and a team was assembled from the Free Clinic to transport Paola from the airport to the hospice residential facility. She arrived in Leesburg at approximately 4:30 pm, was transferred to her hospice bed at 6:00 pm. At approximately 6:45 pm, Paola smiled, took her last breath, and departed for her heavenly destination. She is survived by her father Oscar Argueta -Guzman, mother Ligia Mata-Alvarez, and older sister Pilar Argueta-Mata.
To help defray the costs of medical and funeral expenses memorial donations can be made to the Paola Arguerta Mata Fund, BB&T Bank, 101 Catoctin Circle, SE, Leesburg, VA 20175, atten: Oscar Guzman.