‘Liliana’ or ‘Lily’ is a giggly, playful and fun-loving 4-year-old who is full of life. She loves to play with her four siblings and she has a passion for unicorns.
Sadly, when Lily was just 3-years old, she was diagnosed with leukemia.
At first, Lily’s parents noticed that she did not have her usual bubbly energy. Lily started to look pale and she was tired all the time. She even asked her parents to carry her around everywhere.
Her parents thought Lily had anemia, but when iron supplements didn’t seem to help, Lily’s mom made an appointment with her pediatrician.
That’s when everything changed…
The pediatrician explained to her mom that because of how low Lily's hemoglobin was, she needed to go to hospital right away.
Shortly after they arrived to hospital, Lily was officially diagnosed with leukemia.
As her mom shared with us, “I kept beating myself up, thinking 'how did I miss this'. I guess it’s just hard to imagine cancer ever happening to your child”.
Lily was initially admitted to hospital for 10 days where she began chemotherapy straight away. She was also able to get a clinical trial for a new drug that researchers believe might be more effective and less harmful than other cancer treatments.
Her mom told us, “We’re participating because we know trials like this help find less harsh treatments, and we want to find ways to make things easier and more tolerable for kids like Lily”.
When her mom found out that only 4% of all federal funding goes toward cancer research, she was shocked. Investment in children’s cancer research is vital in ensuring brighter futures for all kids fighting cancer.
Lily has faced her cancer diagnosis with bravery and maturity beyond her years.
Recently, Lily lost her hair because of chemotherapy, and she is still in treatment, which will most likely last several years.
But both Lily and her family are prepared and ready to face whatever challenges come their way. In her mom’s words, “I look at Lily and I see her strength and I use that to push me through.”
Lily and her family have also received a lot of support from their community. A friend of Lily’s family has made t-shirts and bags with the words “Lily Strong” printed on them.
Every kid deserves a bright future. That’s why we’re riding for you this September, Lily!