Zoe Figueroa, of Lakeside, California, is a cancer survivor. The little girl was once diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma, a cancer that is usually found in the adrenal glands and typically affects children under 5-years-old. But Zoe was a fighter and battled the cancer all the way to remission. She endured 16 grueling months of chemotherapy, radiation, stem-cell transplants, surgeries, and immunotherapy all in an attempt to save her life.
On June 30, Zoe turned 8-years-old. There's no denying the fact that after getting through such a rough past couple years, she deserved whatever gifts and toys her heart desired. But that wasn't what she wanted, according to Today.
Zoe considered herself lucky for beating her cancer while so many other children continue to battle theirs across the globe. Thus, she had an idea to make her birthday extra special this year. In a selfless move, she decided to donate her presents to Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. Why did she make this decision? Because she felt that after reaching remission, there was nothing more she needed.
Zoe's mother, Sheena Figueroa, opened up regarding her brave daughter's selfless decision.
"Zoe is remarkable. She said to me, 'I have everything I need.' It's our way of giving back while celebrating Zoe's life."
Although Zoe didn't choose to keep her birthday presents, her parents were determined to throw her the party of a lifetime. In honor of her birthday, Zoe's family threw her an elaborate quinceañera. Typically, this is a celebration that Hispanic girls have when they turn 15-years-old. Although Zoe is only 8-years-old, her parents decided to throw the party for her a little early. After all, even though Zoe has reached remission, there is always the chance that her cancer could return later on in life.
Sheena explained how she didn't want her daughter to have to miss out on a fancy party, in the event that she did get sick again down the road.
"We don't know what the future holds for Zoe. The relapse rate for neuroblastoma is 50 percent, and there's no cure for relapsed neuroblastoma. We're optimistic, but we wanted to pull out all the bells and whistles just in case."Sheena recalled a couple that she met in the hospital where Zoe once received her treatments. On the very day that Zoe was told she was cancer free, the couple was told that their own daughter had neuroblastoma.
"We talk regularly. I know they are scared just like we were. I keep telling them there's hope," Sheena said.