lIn recognition of Children’s Cancer Month, Tyler ISD Early College High School showed their support with a spirit week thanks to some inspiration from sophomore Aneesa Cedillo, a 10-year-old cancer survivor.
She battled Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare cancer that often occurs around the bones, especially in children, from the age of 6.
After 11 months of chemotherapy, she is now cancer-free. Saturday marked the 10th anniversary of her diagnosis.
“This is childhood cancer awareness month and I wanted to draw attention to that, as there are so many families in East Texas that are going through cancer,” Cedillo said.
She said that before she was diagnosed as a child on Friday, she didn’t know that childhood cancer really existed and that many people around her still don’t know. She wants people to talk about it and understand that childhood cancer affects so many lives.
“I don’t want them to feel uncomfortable when such topics come up or when they hear someone talk about it,” Cedillo said.
In an effort to spread awareness and help her peers understand the significance of childhood cancer, Cedillo went to her school principal and suggested a ghost week. During this week, students could dress up, donate and participate in a supply campaign.
ECHS Director Amanda Hortman said after hearing Cedillo’s story she knew this was something they had to do.
“It was touching and motivating to see Aneesa bring this all together to support others going through what she was doing,” Hortman said.
By the end of the week, all donations and supplies would be given to the Gold Network of East Texas, which is committed to raising awareness for childhood cancer and connecting families going through that journey.
There are so many ways to help people battling childhood cancer, Cedillo said. She said that even if it’s a dollar donation, it means so much. She added that she is proud of her peers for supporting childhood cancer and all they have given this week.
Items donated to the supply station include extension cords, art supplies, sanitizers, plug-in wall scents, and more.
Heather Rucker, founder of the Gold Network of East Texas and one of Cedillo’s supporters, said it was great to walk into ECHS and see all the gold everywhere supporting childhood cancer.
Rucker met Cedillo after she was diagnosed with cancer at an event the Gold Network of East Texas organized to raise awareness for childhood cancer. Since their meeting, Cedillo has become very involved with the network and grown that way, Rucker said.
Cedillo’s passion for supporting childhood cancer is amazing and she won’t be silenced, Rucker said.
“She just blossomed into this incredible young lady,” Rucker said. “She’s already a world changer.”