Monterey County

Salinas child survives rare cancer

Mom shares her story to inspire help

Salinas child survives rare cancer

SALINAS, Calif. - A Salinas mother is sharing her story for the first time publicly about her baby girl miraculously surviving a rare form of cancer.

What's ironic, is that Nancy Valdez worked for the American Cancer Society when her fight became personal two years ago. Her then two-month-old Bella became very sick and the rush was on, to save her life.
At first glance, one would never know that the smiling, quiet little girl suffered through months of pain, chemotherapy and long, secluded trips to sterile hospital rooms.

Bella's mom Nancy said Bella is always happy and has a presence in every room. But then came the day she got the worst news imaginable.

"On October 16th, 2012, he basically said something is wrong with bella and three days later at Stanford we found out and your life changes," said Valdez.

Nancy first noticed blood coming out of Bella's ear and rushed her to the doctor, who told her one of two things. He said it was either a ruptured ear drum or there is something in Bella's ear. After antibiotics failed to work, doctors found a malignant tumor in her left ear canal.

It was a very rare form of cancer that strikes 1 in 200,000 newborns. Nancy depended on the American Cancer Society volunteers to drive her to dozens of appointments at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto. Bella went through a nine month cancer treatment program.

Last July, the Valdez family got the good news Bella was in remission.

"She is starting to live a new normal, go to the park, open a door," said Nancy, holding tightly onto Bella.

The most important thing--is this family can watch their brave, little girl grow up.

"She will always be my princess and she's here and she's my fairytale."

Nancy will speak in front of hundreds of other cancer survivors and those people involved in the fight during the American Cancer Society's "Celebration of Life Fashion Show Friday at noon at the Hyatt in Monterey.

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