Skip to main content

Inspirational Stories


Leukemia Survivor

Killeen, TX

Her name is Gabriella Sarai. We call her Gabby! She is a feisty little four year old. She has been running circles around her two older brothers, her dad, and me since she was able to walk. She is the baby and the only girl. She gets away with a lot.

I love having a daughter. I buy Texas-sized bows and adorable tutu outfits and play dress up with my little spunky princess. In January she traded her tutus for cleats and made us all sit in awe that she was really remarkable at soccer, just like her older brothers. Not only is she adorable, but now we find out she is athletic and follows directions amazingly on the field.

In February she began complaining of leg pain during a soccer game and not having the energy to walk. We talked to her and explained she needed to get out on the field and support her team during this soccer game. She hesitated, but eventually ran out there, scored a goal, and ran off the field crying. This is not like our Gabby at all. We took her to the ER and they thought she may have pneumonia. In March we went on an amazing family spring break trip to Houston and we explored NASA, the zoo, the aquarium, and the whole time she said her legs were really hurting. Three days after this amazing family trip, I got the flu and I thought this may be Gabby's complaint too. We both had blood work done and of course, I had the flu, and unpredictably she had pre B-cell leukemia. Excuse me? No, that's not quite right. We both are achy and are tired....we both had the flu! March 25th our world as parents changed forever!

There have been many moments leading up to this that have been breathtaking: getting married, becoming parents for the first time, husband returning safely from Iraq, watching our children learn to walk and talk, and now, having a cancer diagnosis. After a brief, yet intense crying session, we got on our game face. Our Warrior Princess was gonna kick this! And she did. April 23, 2015 after her Phase I 28 days of chemo, she is in remission. Hallelujah! Now we are in maintenance Phase III and we are dealing with new norms.

My husband and I are teachers and we have been talking up pre-K with Gabby. Well, after this life event school will just have to come to her. She is still amazing. She lost all 18 inches of her hair, but that's all we lost. We still have our daughter, we still have our faith, and we still have a future as a family of five. We live a bit differently not being able to go to the movies, to the zoo, to festivals, but there is so much more. We play more board games, read more books together, paint together, do slip-n-slide and have soccer games in our backyard. Life is not over due to her diagnosis. We "kick it" everyday. No one fights alone. Our Warrior Princess opened our eyes to life and what's truly important. We are doing our part supporting her and her brothers and God is handling the rest.