Community members in Wasco, California, are joining forces to make a teenager’s upcoming quinceañera celebration extra special.
Aleena Lopez has been looking forward to the party for her 15th birthday on August 20. However, she will be indisposed at the time due to her chemotherapy treatments and may not have her long hair when it is time for the celebration, KGET reported Friday.
In July 2019, nurse Kimberly Gonzalez was checking little sister Adaliyah when she heard something different in Aleena’s voice.
“I jokingly asked her to open up her mouth,” the nurse recalled. “And I saw a big ol’ mass in her throat, and I immediately took her sister off the exam table and put her on there.”
The problem turned out to be a rare alveolar soft part sarcoma, and Aleena was then referred to Madera Children’s Hospital. More than a year and a half later, medical professionals are still going through treatment options, with chemo and radiation as possibilities.
“My cousin had one before and I just looked up to her,” Aleena said of the quinceañera. “She looked like a real princess. … Like, I couldn’t wait to be in her shoes. I can’t wait be in a big dress and have everyone there.”
The celebration is a huge milestone in a young woman’s life, according to bellacollina.com:
In many Hispanic cultures, the celebration recognizes her entry into womanhood by officially granting her permission to use makeup, wear heels, and perhaps even date. Coinciding with her 15th birthday, the coming of age event is rich with tradition and involves all the pomp and circumstance of a wedding.
Because of her health concerns, Aleena’s family decided to reschedule the party for April 10.
However, when her mother posted about it online, complete strangers began offering to donate things for the celebration, including flowers, balloons, a cake, and even a possible mariachi band.
“I reached out to all of my friends and my vendors and they’ve really come through for me,” said event planner Irma Garza Green, who is helping organize the party. “They have all been so gracious and very generous, offering their services to bring together for this little girl.”