Rider Amanda Perez is a 31-year-old mother of five who takes online classes through San Bernardino Valley College. She is working towards a degree in criminal justice and hopes to one day become a probation officer and help kids better their lives.
This busy mom relies on Omnitrans for all of her everyday errands from grabbing groceries to making doctor appointments. But most importantly, the bus has been a lifeline for her 7-year-old son Darnell.
In 2011, Darnell was diagnosed with leukemia and was hospitalized for a month at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital. Amanda stayed by his side, sleeping each night in the chair beside his bed, while her other small children stayed home with their dad.
“It was very hard to be away from the kids for that month,” says Amanda. “But Darnell needed me there. He was constantly undergoing chemo, spinal taps and blood work. He lost all his hair. It’s a painful process for any to go through, but it’s especially hard for a child.”
When he was finally released, Darnell still had to return to oncology every couple of weeks for lab work and further treatments.
“Without Omnitrans, I don’t know how we would have done it,” says Amanda. “Our car was always having problems and was unreliable. When it eventually broke down, it was just too expensive to fix. With Darnell’s medical expenses, we just didn’t have the money to put into it. We depend on the bus for everything.”
Today, Darnell is stable. He still has to go in for a spinal tap every 6 weeks, but his mom is hopeful that they will be done with everything by May of next year.
“He is the bravest kid I know,” she admits. “He’s happy and loves school. You would never know from looking at him that anything was wrong. I used to get so worried sometimes, but he’d just smile and say ‘With God on my side everything will be fine.’”