Celeste, age 4, and her mother, Blanca Garcia, used to enjoy walks around the block on warm summer days until, suddenly, Celeste could not walk and her mom was forced to carry her. She started complaining about feeling tired, and within a week became extremely pale. Celeste had a normal pediatric visit three weeks prior and everything was fine, but Blanca's motherly intuition knew something was not right, and brought her back to the pediatrician. They did some blood work, and discovered her white blood cell count was extremely high. She was admitted to the Jonathan Jaques Children's Cancer at Miller Children's Hospital Long Beach the following day, and immediately began Chemotherapy to treat Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
Celeste underwent treatment for 2.5 years which changed the lives of their family forever. "Watching your child go through Chemo and the side effects associated with it is devastating," says Blanca. A child battling Leukemia endures countless numbers of shots throughout the treatment – especially in the first 8 months. Celeste's roadmap required additional shots to fight the stubborn cancer cells that included a shot to the leg muscle every other day for three-cycles. Each time, Celeste would say, "I am going to invent medicines without needles!!" Despite the journey Celeste endured, we saw a happy, strong and brave child. Her spirits were high most of the time which helped the family through the whole process. We are grateful for the care and support of Miller's Children's. "Today Celeste is an active 8 year girl -enjoying life of a third grader which includes rehearsing on stage for her upcoming show "SHREK" and taking on cheerleading at her school.
Your support in the Tour of Long Beach will help thousands of patients, like Celeste, receive the best pediatric care. Thank you for your support.
Bela Perez was born July 5, 2012 after her mother had a normal and healthy pregnancy. At two days old Bela was kept in the hospital because she had not urinated yet. After inserting a catheter and getting a urine and blood sample, it was discovered that her platelet count was low. She was in NICU for one month while doctors ran a series of tests and Bela went from bad to worse. She was diagnosed at close to one month of age with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. She began her first of four chemotherapy treatments right away. During round one she ended up on oxygen and spent more than one week in PICU. Her third round was also especially difficult but not as bad as the first. She did get to come home for two weeks between rounds two and three and between rounds three and four. After spending her first seven months of life in the hospital, Bela finally came home for good, cancer free! We fell in love with Miller Children's Hospital Long Beach, especially the staff on the Hematology/Oncology floor and will be forever grateful to God for Bela's health.
Aidan is an energetic and social 10 year-old boy doing well in the fourth grade. He loves to play games of all kinds, from chess to imaginative video games. He likes to be outside with friends, play his guitar, and read. At the age of 4 he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL). He bravely endured 3 years and 2 months of extensive Chemotherapy treatment at Jonathan Jaques Children's Cancer Center (JJCCC) at Miller Children's Hospital Long Beach.
At JJCCC, his entire family's needs were addressed at the time of diagnosis. The multidisciplinary team discussed treatment and tirelessly answered their questions. Aidan developed engaging friendships with the child life specialists as well as the physicians & nurses, and he actually looked forward to outpatient treatment days. His family is proud to say that is now cancer-free! Your support in the Tour of Long Beach is helping support thousands of patients, like Aidan, receive the best pediatric care. Thank you for your support.
Jonathan was only two-years-old when he was diagnosed with both Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). This once happy and busy little boy would have to undergo extensive Chemotherapy treatment to cure both cancers. He spent many nights at the Jonathan Jaques Children's Cancer Center at Miller Children's Hospital Long Beach where his family would have scares due to the side effects of his treatment. His blood pressure would sky rocket, he would get terrible mouth sores and had very little energy.
Thanks to the persistent medical staff, Jonathan is currently in remission and enduring lighter Chemo. His family takes his treatment one day at a time, and is extremely happy to see him as smiling little boy who loves to play with trains, taxis and anything mobile. Your support in the Tour of Long Beach is helping thousands of patients, like Jonathan, receive the best pediatric care. Thank you for your support.
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia are three words a child should never have to know, but Nika was diagnosed with this at the age of two. After several weeks of pain and limping in her right leg, numerous doctor's visits, x-rays, and finally her refusal to walk, doctors ordered a Bone Marrow Biopsy. They discovered and diagnosed the Leukemia at Jonathan Jaques Children's Cancer Center at Miller Children's Hospital Long Beach, and began treatment the next day. This stage of treatment was especially difficult on little Nika who was angry at her mom for letting strangers poke her with needles, trying to sleep through machines beeping all night, and being in pain. Through the hospital stays, battling fevers, and other complications her brother Brody was her hero. He helped her through the process by making her laugh the only way a brother could do. These days, 7-year-old Nika is a happy and healthy little girl whose treatment is finally over thanks to her diligent doctors and medical staff. Her Port-A-Cath, used in treatment, came out in March 2010, and her doctor visits are now once every three months.
Nika enjoys taking ballet classes, having fun making new hairstyles with her own hair, and enjoys making friends and learning how to read at school. Playing soccer in fall of 2012 was a very good experience for Nika. Recently, she discovered her compassion for singing and dancing and writing her own songs. She wants to take a singing class and play volleyball this spring. Every day after school she wants to practice volleyball, so she can be a good player and help her team win many games. Nika is as happy as any 7 year old adorable, fancy, imaginative girl can be. Your support in the Tour of Long Beach is helping thousands of patients, like Nika, receive the best pediatric care. Thank you for your support.
Danny is 20 years old and graduated with honors in 2011 from Wilson High School in Long Beach. He was accepted to several universities after high school and has finished his first semester at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. When he comes home to visit, he still loves to stop in at his former job at Rossmoor Pastries and surfs whenever he can. He loves to play sports and cheer for his favorite team - the Los Angeles Angels.
It has been three years (May 25, 2010) since his diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and 17 months since his Bone Marrow Transplant. At the Jonathan Jaques Children's Cancer Center, leukemia has greater than 85% survival rate thanks to extensive research efforts. Danny is now in remission and doing great!
Sarah was diagnosed with Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in December 2009. She was 4 years old when she began her 2 ½ years of treatment. Sarah is now in remission and is enjoying the first grade. One of the first questions Sarah's doctor, Dr. Patel, asked us upon diagnosis was, "Do you know what Sarah's name means?" We did not. He said, "Sarah means Princess." He said that in front of Sarah and it made her feel very important. It was those types of nurturing conversations along with excellent medical expertise and support that has helped sustain our family and Sarah as she fought her fight and today is winning her battle with cancer.