Students raise more than $25,000 for 5-year-old with cancer
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Students raise more than $25,000 for 5-year-old with cancer

“Rubi has always had the most infectious smile, the most beautiful laugh, walks into a room and knows how to light it up, and is just a remarkable young little girl,” Sally Melendez, Rubi’s mother, said.Like any mother, Melendez beams with pride and joy when talking about her little girl. But unlike most parents, she’s been through an experience that gives her a profound appreciation for getting to brag about her daughter.”It’s been rough, it’s been hard,” Sally Melendez said.Back in August, Rubi’s mom noticed swelling in Rubi’s face and labored breathing. They rushed her to the ER at Kaiser Santa Clara.”When the CT scan was performed and we were waiting, the moment we saw two doctors walk up to her room, we knew it wasn’t going to be good,” she said.Rubi was diagnosed with cancer — stage 3 T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma — two days before her 5th birthday.”We ended up at Stanford with a 13-by-11 cm mass that was covering her heart, lungs, and airway. From that point on, we knew we were going to have an extremely hard, uphill battle in fighting this disease,” Melendez said,Melendez, reflecting on that day. Diagnosis day. The day she calls Day Zero.”When I go back in my mind I have to remember not the tragedy of the news but Rubi’s excitement of going on an ambulance. Rubi giggles, getting strapped in because she gets to ride on a really cool vehicle that she’s never been on. Giggling with her nurse because she happens to have the same name as our dog,” Melendez said.A child’s perspective, truly living in the moment, brightening even the darkest of times.”We have had to tackle many hard things together and have learned how to cope with hard things we need to do and how to shift our mindset from scared or fear into strength, bravery, and positivity,” she said.She asked Rubi, “What do we tell scared?””Move over,” Rubi said.”Move over because who do we need to bring in?” she asked.”Brave,” Rubi said.That bravery is what’s carried Rubi through her treatment over the last nine months. Rubi has been an inpatient at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, receiving an intensive form of chemotherapy treatment.She has one more 21-day treatment cycle, and then she will finally be able to come home and join her mom, dad, and big sister Georgi.”The road ahead is beautiful, it’s incredible. We were given the diagnosis of remission just a couple months ago. Now, going into our maintenance phase of chemotherapy, once a month. She will still have another year and a half left of chemo, but our road is incredible,” Melendez said.A beautiful journey ahead, with many valuable lessons learned along the way. Arguably, the biggest is gratitude.”We wake up with gratitude for the beautiful things that are happening around us, and for us, and to us. I have always looked for the positivity in things, but this has even more so exacerbated that gratitude every day and thankfulness for waking up every day and breathing every day and being able to enjoy life every day,” Melendez said.Each year, students from Hollister High School choose a Baler Beneficiary and fundraise for the chosen recipient. Students say they have already surpassed their goal of raising $25,000 for the Melendez family.They say they are thrilled to select Rubi as this year’s beneficiary.”There’s a long process that we go through to select our beneficiary. Google forms get sent out to teachers, they nominate people and then we dedicate a whole class period to selecting our beneficiary,” ASB President Jada Dickens said.”Knowing that we get to give her this big check at the end of the year just brings us so much joy. As we come together we can do so much as a community as a whole,” Zara Hassan, ASB community affairs officer, said.If you’d like to help Rubi and her family, here’s a link: https://raceroster.com/events/2024/85588/run-for-rubi/fundraising-organization/54103#event-description.

“Rubi has always had the most infectious smile, the most beautiful laugh, walks into a room and knows how to light it up, and is just a remarkable young little girl,” Sally Melendez, Rubi’s mother, said.

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Like any mother, Melendez beams with pride and joy when talking about her little girl. But unlike most parents, she’s been through an experience that gives her a profound appreciation for getting to brag about her daughter.

“It’s been rough, it’s been hard,” Sally Melendez said.

Back in August, Rubi’s mom noticed swelling in Rubi’s face and labored breathing. They rushed her to the ER at Kaiser Santa Clara.

“When the CT scan was performed and we were waiting, the moment we saw two doctors walk up to her room, we knew it wasn’t going to be good,” she said.

Rubi was diagnosed with cancer — stage 3 T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma — two days before her 5th birthday.

“We ended up at Stanford with a 13-by-11 cm mass that was covering her heart, lungs, and airway. From that point on, we knew we were going to have an extremely hard, uphill battle in fighting this disease,” Melendez said,

Melendez, reflecting on that day. Diagnosis day. The day she calls Day Zero.

“When I go back in my mind I have to remember not the tragedy of the news but Rubi’s excitement of going on an ambulance. Rubi giggles, getting strapped in because she gets to ride on a really cool vehicle that she’s never been on. Giggling with her nurse because she happens to have the same name as our dog,” Melendez said.

A child’s perspective, truly living in the moment, brightening even the darkest of times.

“We have had to tackle many hard things together and have learned how to cope with hard things we need to do and how to shift our mindset from scared or fear into strength, bravery, and positivity,” she said.

She asked Rubi, “What do we tell scared?”

“Move over,” Rubi said.

“Move over because who do we need to bring in?” she asked.

“Brave,” Rubi said.

That bravery is what’s carried Rubi through her treatment over the last nine months. Rubi has been an inpatient at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, receiving an intensive form of chemotherapy treatment.

She has one more 21-day treatment cycle, and then she will finally be able to come home and join her mom, dad, and big sister Georgi.

“The road ahead is beautiful, it’s incredible. We were given the diagnosis of remission just a couple months ago. Now, going into our maintenance phase of chemotherapy, once a month. She will still have another year and a half left of chemo, but our road is incredible,” Melendez said.

A beautiful journey ahead, with many valuable lessons learned along the way. Arguably, the biggest is gratitude.

“We wake up with gratitude for the beautiful things that are happening around us, and for us, and to us. I have always looked for the positivity in things, but this has even more so exacerbated that gratitude every day and thankfulness for waking up every day and breathing every day and being able to enjoy life every day,” Melendez said.

Each year, students from Hollister High School choose a Baler Beneficiary and fundraise for the chosen recipient. Students say they have already surpassed their goal of raising $25,000 for the Melendez family.

They say they are thrilled to select Rubi as this year’s beneficiary.

“There’s a long process that we go through to select our beneficiary. Google forms get sent out to teachers, they nominate people and then we dedicate a whole class period to selecting our beneficiary,” ASB President Jada Dickens said.

“Knowing that we get to give her this big check at the end of the year just brings us so much joy. As we come together we can do so much as a community as a whole,” Zara Hassan, ASB community affairs officer, said.

If you’d like to help Rubi and her family, here’s a link: https://raceroster.com/events/2024/85588/run-for-rubi/fundraising-organization/54103#event-description.

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