Alexa’s story began on May 1st, 2023, with a simple fall off a slide at school. “It was so minor, she didn’t even think to tell her teacher,” shared Veronica, Alexa’s mother. Two days later, Veronica found it strange that Alexa was still limping from her fall. “We had a trip planned to El Salvador,” explained Veronica, “I noticed at the airport that she couldn’t even walk on her foot.” Alexa was taken to see a medic in El Salvador, where after some testing, she was urgently encouraged to visit her pediatrician upon their return to Las Vegas due to suspicions of Osteosarcoma. “That was May 30th,” recounted Veronica, “within 30 days of her fall off the slide, I was being told that my child might have cancer.”
Veronica did as she was instructed, and on June 19th, Alexa was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at the age of 7. “You start to think of death,” Veronica responded when asked what went through her mind upon receiving the news. “Alexa was old enough to do her own research about what cancer is. She started to tell me that she wasn’t going to see me anymore, and to ask me why she had gotten cancer, why her hair would fall out… you feel like the whole world is just falling on top of you.”
When a child begins their cancer journey, there is rarely any room left to think of all of life’s necessities. It is not only an emotionally painful journey, but an expensive one as well. To support local families who have children experiencing a cancer diagnosis, United Way of Southern Nevada partnered with Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada to provide essential rent and mortgage assistance.
“With Alexa’s treatment schedule, and her three siblings, I barely ever get an opportunity to work,” Veronica shared, “so when Candlelighters informed me at the hospital that they provided rental assistance, I felt an enormous weight off my shoulders fall away. I cannot put into words how thankful I am to Candlelighters, they saved our lives. In the beginning, family surrounded us with support, but as time passes, that goes away – Candlelighters made me feel like we are not going through this alone.”
To Veronica, rental assistance was more than the security of ensuring their rent was paid on time, it was also the gift of being able to concentrate solely on Alexa rather than their financial situation. “I truly do not think that we would have been able to do this without Candlelighters, we will always love you,” expressed Veronica.
Although Alexa’s cancer journey continues, the family remains hopeful as she completes her chemotherapy and Alexa’s bright and determined spirit continues to shine. Your generous contributions have helped alleviate the stress and concern parents face when unable to provide housing for their family, providing them with stable housing and the opportunity to focus on Alexa’s cancer diagnosis.