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Hartnell College Scholarship Recipient Credits Internet With Saving His Life

May 19th, 2003

Hartnell College graduate Daniel Delacruz of Salinas has received a $1,500 scholarship to attend California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB), in the fall.

He will major in Telecommunications, Multimedia, and Applied Computing (TMAC). The CSUMB scholarship is designed to promote access to local area students interested in attending the university.

Delacruz, 34, was diagnosed with a rare life-threatening enzyme-deficiency disease (Fabry disease), when he was 22. He credits the Internet with saving his life.

"When I was told I had Fabry disease, there was very little that could be done for me medically," he says. "That's when I went to my computer and the Internet. I learned that experimental work on Fabry disease was being done by a Dr. Robert Desnick at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City."

Delacruz contacted Dr. Desnick and was later admitted to the doctor's Fabry study group, and received a full range of clinical services including a medical evaluation and enzyme replacement therapy. For six months, Delacruz flew to New York every two weeks to receive the replacement therapy. In the last few years, he has received the therapy at the University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center.

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the replacement therapy for Fabry disease. Delacruz is delighted. "I finally should have this treatment available to me locally," he says.

Once he completes his studies at CSUMB, Delacruz plans to pursue a law degree and Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology. He is aiming for a legal career, specializing in civil liberties.

Delacruz and his wife Allison have a son, Daniel Jr., 13.

(Note to Reporters and Editors: Daniel Delacruz is available for interviews. If interested, call Ron Bottini at (408) 377-0955)