Sarah Valdivia: Family devastated after 7-yr-old dies from rare brain cancer following monthslong battle
ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: After bravely fighting a rare type of brain cancer for months, 7-year-old Sarah Valdivia has succumbed to the illness. Back in January 2022, she was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, also known as DIPG. Doctors at the Children’s Hospital Orange County informed the family that there was no cure. Only a few hundred children receive a DIPG diagnosis every year in the USA.
According to ABC7, DIPG is a tumor that is mostly found in children between the ages of four to eleven. The tumor affects movement as it wraps itself around the brainstem. Little Sarah's family hoped that a clinical trial at Stanford would help her, but it did not.
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Joanna, the heartbroken mother of the deceased child, posted a picture on Instagram to announce her daughter's death. “Our Super Hero Sarah took her last breath here on earth at 11:23 pm on December 06, 2022. Sarah peacefully gained her wings to heaven. She fought bravely for over 10 months. We are heartbroken, but she is now cancer free.”
Earlier, it was hoped that a Stanford clinical trial might cure Sarah's cancer. At the time of her diagnosis, she was given between six and nine months to live. "We're praying that this trial is it, that maybe her and the kids that are going through it, are gonna be going through it, are gonna be the ones that are gonna be that next step to say, 'Look, now there's a process on how to heal, how to get rid of it,'" her father Reyes said.
In July, an ABC7 report quoted Joanna describing her little girl and her active nature. "She's always been a very active young little girl. I mean she loved going hiking. She would hike like five miles with dad. She's very adventurous. We used to love going to national parks and you know, now she can't, we can't even go to the park without her needing help,” she said.
Joanna also spoke about how they tried to bring as much normalcy and joy into their dying child’s life. "We're still trying to do family things, go to the movies, go to Disneyland.” Reyes added, “Just trying to make it as normal as possible and trying to enjoy every moment we can.”