A beautiful young girl who was looking forward to a summer of fun with her friends, being on her high school dance team and her quinceañera celebration (a traditional Mexican celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday) will now be spending the next several weeks receiving chemotherapy treatments.
Alexis Delacruz, a freshman at Lovell High School, noticed a small growth on her neck and another near her collarbone right around the time the school year was ending. An MRI revealed another small lump in the same general area. Following a biopsy conducted by her doctor, she was diagnosed with a type of cancer called Hodgkin lymphoma.
According to the American Cancer Society, the Hodgkin lymphoma begins in the white blood cells (lymphocytes). These cells are a critical part of the body’s immune system in that the body’s lymph system is made up of them. Though the disease can occur at any age, it is most common in ages 15 – 40 but it has a good rate of recovery if treated early.
Delacruz is already in Colorado receiving chemotherapy treatments to combat the disease. She had her first treatment just last week at Children’s Hospital in Denver. Her beautiful long dark hair has already been cut short in anticipation of hair loss due to the chemotherapy treatments. Her mother Yvette, father Dino and her siblings Alma and Dino Jr. are at her side in Denver.
According to her great-grandfather Ed Croft, a cancer-survivor himself, Alexis is otherwise in good health and good spirits and her doctors are expecting her to respond well to her chemotherapy treatments. And, though the prognosis is good for Alexis, she and her family are still facing an ordeal.
A taco fundraiser to help the Delacruz family with expenses that will most likely tap
their resources over the next several weeks is being held on Saturday (June 11) at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. The sale will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is expected to sell out. Pre-orders will be accepted and are encouraged to help the organizers with their planning. To pre-order, text or call 272-6159. Pre-orders must include the name of person ordering, contact phone number, quantity ordered and delivery time and address. Friends and family of Alexis as well as St. Joseph’s Catholic Church are sponsoring the fundraiser.
Several well-known cooks in the area are participating. According to cousin Jennifer D’Alessandro, one of the
organizers of the fundraiser, those buying tacos can look forward to authentic, homemade flour tortillas and fresh pico de gallo salsa with their tacos. The tacos will have a ground beef filling.
“I have had a heartwarming response, as I knew I would from the parishioners of St. Joseph’s, to donate ingredients and money toward helping purchase ingredients,” said D’Alessandro. “No worries about yucky packaged taco seasoning on these babies. Only all authentico. Pre-orders are already being received and people from as far as Powell are ordering.”
D’Alessandro said delivery is available and a limited number of corn tortillas will be available for those who can’t have flour. She said the corn tortillas will not be homemade at this point unless someone volunteers to make them.
“Our goal is to keep overhead low and send every cent possible to Alexis and her family,” said D’Alessandro.
It is still uncertain how long Alexis will remain in Colorado receiving chemotherapy treatments or when she will return home. What is known is that the community is once again rising to the occasion, sending prayers and support to the young girl and her family.
“Our community is filled with love, compassion and prayer warriors, and this young girl can use every bit of that we can send,” said D’Alessandro. “We have been hit hard by so many young, traumatic situations recently, but we always come together and once again I feel the power of small town love.
“When you are from a small town you are really one big family and we lift up and carry each other. I’ve always said your circle is bigger in a small community. I haven’t lived in Lovell for eight years, but I knew I could call upon people and I wouldn’t be disappointed.”
By Patti Carpenter