As a parent, I'm sure we all remember
what it was like to watch our children grow up. From holding their hands to cross the street, checking the monsters underneath their beds, watching them hold that hard earned diploma in their hands, sending them off to college for new adventures, and when
the time came, sending all of our love when they left the nest to start a family of their own. Except, I can never say that I got to see Cecilia, my daughter fully blossom into the person that I'd always dream of her to be, nor see her achieve the goals that
she set so early one for herself. On October 11, 2016, my 13 year old daughter passed away, due to pediatric osteosarcoma. This disease was the worst thing that has happened to our family, and even that is an understatement. It was hard for me to fall asleep
at night because I was always afraid of never getting a last goodbye, every time I met her eyes, I thought to myself of everything and anything that I would do to trade places with her as she did not deserve to suffer this much. We always lived in fear and
never felt secure throughout the journey even during the time Cecilia was in remission. I never fully enjoyed these time, I felt like we had a bomb in the house and we never knew when it would explode. What angers me is that Cecilia didn't die because of osteosarcoma
directly, but because the drugs are outdated so there were no better options out there for her. We had to accept what medicine could offer for Cecilia, knowing that the treatments may or may not have worked for her as well as all side effects as the results
of treatments. I felt like we gambled her life, but we did not have any better options. As one of the world's most innovative nations with cutting edge technology, it is very ironic that our drugs for childhood cancer are over 30+ years old at times. It is
our responsibility and obligation to step up for children like Cecilia because she deserves to live the day where she can live out her dream of being able to cure children like herself.
Cecilia was known by her friends and
teachers at school as a fun to be around person, hard working, persevere, smart and kind. She loved to go to school, loved learning and would like to become a pediatric oncologist in the future to help kids with cancer. Her dream colleges were UNC and Johns
Hopkins. I could see that she became very mature throughout the journey fighting against the cancer. Losing hair with a girl at the age of 10 was very difficult for Cecilia, but over the time she went from wearing a wig to a hat and eventually no hat when
she was in public.She went right back to school after the amputation and did not take all the accomodations school gave her. She never wanted people to treat her differently because of her disabilities, because of her illness.
Thanks Tom again for allowing us submit
her photo for your upcoming race to raise money for kids affected by childhood cancer and their families. Thank you for all your effort, love, care and support to childhood cancer world. May God Bless you, your family and your staff.