Citizen Staff Writer
Family and friends of Arthur Paz gave him an early birthday party Saturday.
The 10-year-old, who had battled cancer since he was an infant, wasn’t going to make it to his 11th birthday.
In fact, “Baby Arthur” as his loved ones call him, died in his mother’s arms a day later.
While Arthur’s last days were filled with pain and he was in and out of consciousness, there was joy for him as well, his mother, Tammy Robles, said.
One of his teachers at Santa Clara Elementary, where he was a fourth-grader, videotaped his classmates saying they missed him and wanted him to come back.
“He really enjoyed that,” his mom said.
He came home for the last time from the hospital on Thursday.
The following day was the annual Cinco de Mayo festival at Santa Clara, where Arthur loved being part of the folklorico group.
His fellow members danced without him, dedicating their performance to their friend. The school parent-teacher organization is donating about $1,600 from food sales at the event to his family to help cover funeral costs, but members know it won’t be nearly enough.
It also has set up a fund where donations can be sent: Santa Clara PTO (for Arthur Paz), 6910 S. Santa Clara Ave.; Tucson, AZ 85756. For more information, call Sylvia Tautimer at 545-3791.
Viewing will be from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday at Carrillo’s Tucson Mortuary, 204 S. Stone Ave. A funeral Mass will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Santa Monica Catholic Church, 212 W. Medina Road.
Arthur’s mother said he was mostly asleep Saturday when relatives and friends brought him presents, which his 8-year-old sister, Anisia, opened for him.
They weren’t sure he was aware of what was going on.
But early the next day, when he was awake, his mom and sister asked him if he remembered the presents and he acknowledged that he did.
“He was a wonderful, very courageous, little boy, said his great aunt, Patricia Paz – Tía Pat. “Although his whole life he was back and forth to hospital and doing chemo, he was a very happy little boy.”
His mom said she could see he had little time on Sunday, but he was fighting to stay alive.
“It was hard, but I said, ‘OK baby, I give you all my permission that you can go with God. It’s OK and everybody is going to be fine because when you get to heaven you’re going to be our little angel up there.”