Childhood Cancer Heroes

You are here

Francisco Zacarais

  • Rhabdomyosarcoma

Click the images to see them larger above!

Learn more about

Get the facts about Rhabdomyosarcoma and how our research projects are making a difference.

Learn More »

Francisco loves airplanes and big trucks. While in the hospital, he’s always excited to catch a glimpse of the helicopter as it flies by outside his room.

In July 2019, a month after his first birthday, Francisco was diagnosed with stage 2 embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma (ERMS). On August 1, he had a port placed and began weekly chemotherapy. In the beginning, his body had harsh reactions to the treatment, from fevers to rashes. Once his body finally got used to chemo, he was sent to Phoenix Children’s Hospital for surgery to remove his tumor.

Francisco and his family returned to the hospital two weeks later for four weeks of radiation treatment. It caused his surgery site to swell and threaten to reopen, and he ended up getting a skin infection. But Francisco took everything like a champ and was able to go home in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

In addition to treatment, he faced other challenges and delays as well, such as developing the flu and common cold. Travelling to Banner - University Medical Center weekly for treatment became more dangerous with the arrival of COVID-19. Today he is in the maintenance stage and his family hopes he will soon beat his cancer. They hope he will be able to live as much of a normal life as he can in the future, with no side effects from his treatments. “Francisco is stronger than his cancer and he knows it,” said his mom, Bibiana, “Not once through his journey did he ever show us that he was going to give up.” He is a true hero.

To Bibiana, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) means that families like hers are not walking alone on this road, especially when everything seems like it’s going downhill. It is comforting to have someone to lean on and be able to cry with, lending emotional and financial support is how foundations like ALSF keep childhood cancer families lifted and strong. “We are not alone thanks to foundations like yours,” she said.

Information provided by Bibiana Zacarais, Francisco’s mom
Updated January 2021


Donate in Honor of Francisco Today!

Your donation helps to fund critically-needed research to find better treatments and cures for children with cancer.

Childhood Cancer Heroes

More Heroes

A true dancer at heart, Allison had a misstep when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2020. She was unable to move her left leg and ankle like she used to in dance class, then was unable to walk normally. But she was determined not to give up.
Sam is a kind young man who always acts out of a deep consideration for others even as he battles Ewing sarcoma. He underwent intensive chemotherapy for nine months and daily radiation six hours from home. Today, he is in remission!
Nate is a smart kid who knows how to give the best hugs. Nate developed a fever that left him incredible weak, and his symptoms only worsened from there until he was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Today, he is on a clinical trial.
Outgoing Jaycen loves meeting new people. Born with down syndrome and having undergone open heart surgery before he was 1, today Jaycen continues to show the same resilience in the face of cancer. When he turned 3, he began fighting ALL.