Girl of the Year 2020
Girl of the Year 2020
Amaya and her Giant: Leukemia
On May 31, 2019, Amaya, at 8 years old, was diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. That day changed the normalcy of her childhood forever.
Since the day she was born, Amaya has been on-the-go. She has always been a high-energized, curious, ready to face any challenge type of child. Her determination to tackle and conquer various obstacles that children face has prepared her well for the journey she was unexpectedly set to embark upon.
Within a two month span before diagnosis we started to see different symptoms affecting her daily activities such as rapid weight loss, flu-like symptoms, and joint pain. Within a week of calling her doctor and ordering blood test, the diagnosis was in. “It’s Leukemia, I’m so sorry.” Those words seemed to stop all time and clarity. Her initial response when finding out included fear and uncertainty of her lifespan. But amazingly, she cried it all out within a matter of 3 minutes, gained her composure, and put on her brave face right then and there. The initial shock of it was crushing, but there was barely any time to process it. We had to get her to the Oncologist.
After meeting with her team of doctors and gong over what the next 2-5 years of treatment would entail, she was officially inducted into the Kid’s Fighting Cancer Club. She was immediately thrusted into a medical vortex. All of her normal activities were put on hold as we faced this Goliath sized disease with chemotherapy treatments. By the grace of our God, after 30 days of intense treatment, her blood tests came back showing no signs of cancer in her blood. Following protocol, her treatment of chemotherapy will continue for a minimum of two years to prevent it from ever coming back.
Throughout everything she has gone through, Amaya’s strength hasn’t wavered. She has faced her side-effects with more dignity than anyone I’ve ever seen. Her trust lies completely in her God, her loved ones, and her wonderful team of doctors and nurses that are by her side through it all.
Amaya’s thoughts on her battle are this:
“It has its ups and downs. The ups are all the different events that I’ve been included in. They do a lot for us kids fighting cancer. I’ve been able to go to a rented out theater to go see the new Aladdin movie. I went to an event at the Explora Science Center that was specifically for kids fighting cancer. I was in a music video for the hospital. I’ve been granted a wish from Make-A-Wish to go on a Disney Cruise in the summer of 2020. And now I’ve been nominated to be girl of the year for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The downs have been the side effects from all the medicines. I don’t like feeling sick or nauseous or tired. But at least I’ve met a lot of new friends along the way that are sharing the same journey as I am. That always makes me feel better knowing I’m not the only one living through this.”
Amaya is a very special girl who has always had a good heart to do good in life. Her innocence is heartwarming to anyone who comes in contact with her. The majority of her days still include so much joy and laughter. By no means has this monster of a disease ever came close to conquering her. She is the brightest light that shines in the darkness. A blessing to anyone she meets. And a true example of strength to anyone going through the same battle. She has an opportunity to make a mark on this world and there is no doubt in my mind, as her mother, it’s going to be a big one.