This is the story of Sakura Gastaldo:
Sakura was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in her left pelvic wing at age 17 in February of 2023, soon after her birthday in January. Ewing's sarcoma is a rare type of cancer occurring in bones or the soft tissue around the bones. Two hundred children and teens are diagnosed with Ewing tumors yearly. Most Ewing tumors occur in teens, but they can also affect younger children and adults (mainly in their 20s and 30s). Ewing's sarcoma most often begins in the leg bones and the pelvis, but it can develop in any flat bone.
Sakura's diagnosis of cancer was a bombshell to her entire family. Sakura was an avid tennis player and played varsity for her high school tennis team. She even placed 5th place playing doubles in the state competition. On the whole, she was a healthy teenager and student. However, she started to experience extreme pain in her lower back and a limp when she walked, starting in late 2022. Her immense pain eventually caused her to be unable to walk without crutches and play tennis. Since then, her treatment at Cure for the Kids has improved her condition tremendously. Now, she can walk without crutches and her pain is almost gone.
Sakura has learned several invaluable lessons from her cancer journey. "Just a year ago, my dilemma was getting a bad grade on a test.", she remembers. "Now, I'm more concerned with life and death issues.", she says. It is paramount to understand what truly matters. Sakura also started to recognize the significance of living in the moment: "No one knows how much time they have. Every day is a blessing from God, so I want to spend my time doing the things I love." Sakura spends every free day attending concerts (like Taylor Swift <3) and hanging out with her friends. Through this cancer journey, she is continually discovering how to live life to the fullest. Moreover, Sakura is grasping to trust and lean on God in strenuous times. "God ultimately has a plan for me; I am learning that it is best to leave it to Him."
Throughout treatment, the Candlelighters Foundation has been an incredible help and blessing. Sakura has especially enjoyed Teen Scene. She relishes being able to have fun and connect with other cancer kids.