It’s a every parent’s nightmare — a seven-year-old girl is fighting for her life after the discovery of a rare and cancerous tumor.
Christina Loya, a Menifee resident, had been experiencing stomach aches and vomiting in June when her parents Ruben and Lizeth brought her to a doctor.
After extensive testing at the Naval Medical Center and Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, Christina was diagnosed in August with a Stage 3 undifferentiated embryonal sarcoma tumor of the liver.
The ordeal has been an emotional whirlwind for Christina’s devastated parents, said family friend Stacey Robinson.
Ruben and Lizeth had been in the process of moving their young family from Menifee to San Diego to alleviate Ruben’s commute to the naval base where he serves in the U.S. Navy, she said.
Robinson, whose own children have played with Christina and her little brother Gabriel, 5, said that Ruben and Lizeth are reeling from the news and frantic to care for their daughter’s needs as she undergoes rigorous chemotherapy treatments over the next few months.
“Christina was in the hospital for about a month and a half. They are home now and struggling to get her room set up with air purifiers to protect her immune system and other things like wigs,” Robinson said.
Doctors’ plans to shrink the tumor through chemo in order to surgically remove it has prompted Lizeth to abandon her schooling and plans to open a daycare center so that she can oversee Christina’s recovery, Robinson said.
Barely two months in, the costs are already taking a toll on the young family.
“It’s been fast and furious for them,” she said.
Robinson has jumped into action with fundraising goals to help the Loyas with daily and unexpected expenses.
She recently set up a website for friends, neighbors and businesses to donate.
“My goal is to raise $1,000. And if we reach it, I plan to shave my hair off,” Robinson said, adding that she plans to donate her hair to be used for a wig for other cancer patients.
She plans to do the deed at her place of employment — Sensory Time, an indoor play center in Murrieta.
Robinson said that her pledge is meant to honor and help her friends, but is also in observance of National Childhood Cancer Awareness month in September.
Anyone who wishes to make a donation to the Loya family can do so by visiting www.youcaring.com.
Kerri S. Mabee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @kerrimabee.