Adali Rodriguez, 3

February Model of the Month

In December of 2015, a little girl named Adali was having consistent pain throughout her body and all her mother knew to do was to take her to the doctor. Shortly after visiting the doctor and having some blood work completed, this sweet little girl was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. When the news hit the family it was devastating, how could their little one have cancer and how do they move forward? Most parents can understand that children under two have no concept of being sick. The goal of a two-year-old is to play, learn, and eat, but for Adali’s parents, Adali only understood she was away from her family and to a small child, that is heart breaking. Her parents did their best to make sure she could still be a child and develop normally. Adali before the age of three underwent six surgeries, a plethora of tests and scans, chemotherapy treatment and more. The family also traveled to Rochester, Minnesota for almost four months for treatment as well. After all of this treatment, the family received another round of disappointing news, Adali had relapsed. This started this process all over again.

Today, Adali is currently in remission and she is doing well. The family is the proudest of who she has become during this hardship. Even though she has been through so much it did not stop her from smiling. Her mother says, “To see the glow in her eyes when she points to something that captures her interest, when she laughs, jumps, runs and learns new things are the best moments a parent will always remember!” Adali loves music, Disney movies, theme parks, the color purple and make-up. Adali can be very sassy and is quite the character! She loves playing and interacting with her family and looks up to Super Woman! Adali’s common saying is “Happy Now!” and we understand why. She has so many things to be happy about! In 2017, Adali was able to walk the stage at the Spring Fashion Soiree and she was beautiful! We loved seeing her smile backstage while playing with other children and she was a true princess onstage! The family truly felt as if the team at Runway to Hope was a part of their family and they look forward to attending the event each year.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia is a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow with an excess of immature white blood cells. This type of cancer is fairly rare in children and only make up 20% of pediatric diagnosis’s. Common symptoms include feeling tired, pain around the body and easy bleeding or bruising. In general, cancer’s that are acute usually get worse if not treated quickly. Acute Myeloid Leukemia is a quick progressing disease in which too many abnormal white blood cells are found in the bone marrow, the soft, spongy center of long bones. In AML, myeloid stem cells, a type of blood stem cell, become immature white blood cells called myeloblasts or “blasts.” These blasts do not become healthy white blood cells. Instead, they build up in the bone marrow, so there is less room for healthy white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. In addition, these abnormal cells are unable to fight off infection.

Throughout this journey the family has learned to care about your loved ones every minute because you never know what will happen tomorrow. The mother’s advice to other families is to enjoy life and worry less of the things that can be managed later. The team here at Runway to Hope is hopeful that Adali will be with us onstage again this year! We cannot wait to take selfies with her and just spend quality time with this incredible little girl backstage and hope you will join us to our Spring Fashion Soiree on May 19th, 2018 at the wonderful Rosen Shingle Creek to see Adali and other amazing children walk the stage for their chance to be a kid again!

Runway to Hope / 189 South Orange Avenue, Suite 1800 / Orlando, FL 32801 / 407.802.1544