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Kaela Cruz

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When our daughter Kaela was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (bone cancer) just before her fifth birthday in January 2007, I remember feeling the weight of the world upon us. We just wanted to hold it together and stay strong for Kaela. She began treatment at The Bristol Myers Squibb Children's Hospital in May 2007 and had an above the knee amputation on her left leg. Meeting with the team of doctors and specialists, the barrage of blood tests, X-Rays, MRIs and CT Scans was overwhelming.

Our patience was put to the test for thirteen months, and for thirteen months, we NEVER lost hope. Waiting is the one thing our family dreaded, but it was the most important thing to do. In hindsight, this experience brought us closer together as a family and taught us never to take things for granted. When you are so close to losing everything, you become much closer to cherishing it.

Kaela is a brave little girl and a beacon of hope to everyone who crosses her path. She continues to inspire others by way of a few special foundations.

We met Liz and Jay Scott at a childhood cancer symposium hosted by Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation in 2012. The symposium provided families with resources to help them make informed decisions.  We saw first-hand the impact of the contributions that the Foundation has on families still battling childhood cancer.

Kaela had the honor to speak at their Lemon: NYC fundraiser this year to raise awareness about the ravages of childhood cancer and the need for more funding. Through the generosity of several donors, a research grant was funded in her name for osteosarcoma. We are blessed to have met such wonderful people and support their goal to end childhood cancer.

Today, Kaela continues to shine in school as well as outside. She is an A+ honor roll student and loves to swim, play the piano and is in the leadership program in martial arts. At parties, she loves to co-host and decorate. She is also quite the social butterfly and wears her battle scars proudly. We are so proud of her for everything she does and continues to do. She seems to surprise everybody even if it’s just the simple things like reaching the top shelf in the cabinet or carrying all of her gear to class.

Thank you for supporting Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and we hope that you find the courage and strength that we found in Kaela; our hero and cancer survivor.

We must find a cure! Check out this video of Kaela’s journey!

Written by Donna and Matt Cruz, Kaela’s Parents
December 2013

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