Cynthia Aguirre should have been zipping around her home like any normal, curious 22-month-old. But when she started getting tired, complained that her legs hurt and developed a high fever, her family took her to the doctor.
|Cynthia Aguirre and her uncle, Robert Aguirre, have drawn attention to the importance of leukemia research. (Photo by Maria Aguirre)|
They got news no parent ever wants to hear: Their daughter had acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
In the more than five years since then, the Riverside, Calif., girl has patiently gone through treatment after treatment at City of Hope. In one year alone, she was hospitalized 23 times. She completed therapy in August 2007, but by October of that year, the cancer returned.
Her bravery through treatment (her latest round ended March 4) inspired her aunt and uncle to run a marathon in her honor. It also got the attention of the Orange County/Inland Empire chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which deemed her its “2010 Girl of the Year.”
Cynthia’s aunt and uncle, Robert Aguirre and Cindy Moran-Aguirre, trained with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program to complete the Surf City Marathon in Huntington Beach in February, collecting pledges along the way. It was during that marathon that Robert Aguirre shared his niece’s powerful story with a Team in Training manager.
So when the group’s Orange County/Inland Empire chapter was determining who its “2010 Girl of the Year” should be, that training manager remembered Cynthia’s inspiring story.
Cynthia’s Girl of the Year honor is part of the society’s annual “Man & Woman of the Year” fundraising contest in which volunteers across the country engage in a spirited competition in honor of children who are local blood cancer survivors.
In her new role, Cynthia will appear at events to share her story, helping inspire and encourage volunteers who raise awareness of the importance of blood cancer research.