By Luke Kenton
This stage four breast cancer sufferer travelled five hours from the US to Mexico, to reconcile with her estranged father who she hasn’t seen for 20 years, after her diagnosis gave her a ‘new outlook on life’.
Diagnosed with stage three – going on four, breast cancer in July 2016, the last 18 months have been incredibly testing for 30-year-old Reyna Lucero Casellanos.
Following eight rounds of the strongest possible chemotherapy, six weeks of intense radiation therapy and a subsequent new outlook on life, the mum-of-three from Perris, California, decided it was finally time to confront one of the voids in her life that now seemed trivial – her relationship with her estranged father.
Having not seen her dad, Alfredo Aguilar, since her parents divorced twenty years ago, Reyna decided it was time to reunite once more, flying from Perris to Puebla, Mexico, to be held in his arms once more.
Stepping off the hour-long coach from the airport, Reyna gallops towards Alfredo clutching tears in her squinted eyes, before the pair lock into a silent embrace, overwhelmed with emotion.
Reyna, who flew to Mexico in July but only recently uploaded the video to social media, said: “I honestly couldn’t believe I had my dad in my arms again, we were both crying.
“I couldn’t stop telling him how much I’d missed him and he kept telling me how much he loves me.
“Things didn’t work out between my mom and dad and he decided to move back to Mexico.
“Neither of us had the right documents to go and visit one another, so over the years we just drifted apart, never getting around to see one another.”
In addition to her radio and chemotherapy, Reyna has also been subjected to a double mastectomy and has had her ovaries removed as a result of her high risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Though it wasn’t necessarily Reyna’s own health battle that prompted her desire to reconcile with her father, but instead after Alfredo fell ill following a serious back injury that required surgery.
Realising there’s little more important in life than being around those that love you, Reyna decided to bury the hatchet and venture to see her dad for the first time in two decades.
Reyna said: “Going through this hard process in my life and knowing that he was going through his own medical condition made me want to see him again.
“I was so excited, but equally nervous – on a scale of one to ten, I was definitely a ten in my nerves.
“I wondered if I was even going to recognise him after all of this time, or if he’d recognise me.
“All I wanted to do was run and hug him and feel like I was his little girl again.
“Being back together felt unbelievably good, but because of future treatments I could only stay for a week.
“Our relationship is now stronger than ever, we talk nearly every day.
“I’m not sure when my next trip will be because of my treatment, but next time we go I’ll be taking my children to meet their grandpa for the first time.”