MODEL OF THE MONTH

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OF THE MONTH

MODEL OF THE MONTH

“Runway to Hope is a blessing on our family! Just knowing that we have wonderful people around us to give us all types of support is a blessing. Every smile, hug, and prayer make our daughter happy during this part of our journey.” - Yaixa Torres, Amaia’s Mother

Every morning when Amaia wakes up, she starts her day with morning prayer. This helps her to begin her day with positivity and hope that each day is new and full of possibilities. Amaia and her family moved from Puerto Rico to Central Florida hoping for a new beginning. Two weeks after their move, Amaia started her first day of school in Central Florida and came home complaining about pain in her left arm. Her parents took her to hospital and she was admitted after having some scans. Her medical team needed to do a biopsy on their findings. The doctors confirmed the worst and diagnosed Amaia with Osteosarcoma in January of 2014 at only six years old. Her mother, Yaixa, says it was the hardest and saddest day of their lives. She cannot describe the feeling when she learned what this diagnosis meant for her daughter. Their lives were changed forever. Amaia endured an initial four months of chemotherapy followed by a surgery in St. Petersburg that removed her left arm. After healing from surgery, she went through an additional six months of chemotherapy. Throughout Amaia’s diagnosis she had three surgeries, eight biopsies, and three bone marrow transplants.

Three years later, this amazing little girl celebrates her incredible life every day in remission and is enjoying every moment. Since being in remission, Amaia has to do scans throughout the year to continue on this road to recovery. Her family is so thankful that her treatment is over and they are proud of the strength she showed then and continues to show every day. When children go through cancer, they will always have the scars and battle wounds from treatment that they will live with forever. Unfortunately, Amaia is battling a new challenge as a result of her cancer and amputation. She is bullied at school and the children’s lack of understanding has caused Amaia to feel tormented and ridiculed. She will be in 5th grade in the fall and it is devastating to see her struggle with self-confidence issues because she such a beautiful survivor. Amaia and her family are seeking therapy to help her overcome these challenges and Runway to Hope is here to support her! Thankfully she has switched schools and she is starting to feel welcomed in the new environment.

Amaia really wants to meet Ellen Degeneres and she loves to spend her free time with her family. She also enjoys the TV show Stranger Things and hopes to become a veterinarian one day. Amaia is looking forward to technology advancing so she can live with a prosthetic arm permanently. This beautiful girl also loves makeup and saying, “Esquys Me” in her sassy voice.

Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer, and accounts for about 3% of cancers that happen in children. Osteosarcoma usually develops from osteoblasts, the cells that make growing bone, it most commonly affects teens who are having a growth spurt. Scientists have not discovered the cause of most cases of osteosarcoma. Osteosarcoma can also develop as a result of radiation to an area of the body. It can be associated with specific genetic changes and diseases. When treated appropriately, patients with high grade osteosarcoma in one location have a survival rate of about 70%. The survival rate is higher for patients with low grade tumors, and it is lower for those whose disease has spread throughout the body and for those whose tumors have a poor response to chemotherapy.

Runway to Hope first met Amaia at the 2017 Bloomingdale’s Beauty and Boys Bash. She was very positive and brought her gorgeous personality onstage that year as well. Amaia did grace the stage at this year’s 2018 Spring Fashion Soiree with a huge smile on her face! Amaia and her family have graciously been helping Runway to Hope bring awareness to the community and we consider her to be an ambassador for our organization. Her mother says, “Runway to Hope is a blessing on our family! Just knowing that we have wonderful people around us to give us all types of support is a blessing. Every smile, hug, and prayer make our daughter happy during this part of our journey.” This family has been through many challenges, but through their faith, they have remained positive and humble. Our team here is thankful that we have been able to be a part of Amaia’s journey and hope to continue this relationship for years to come!

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