Shortly after Ximena was born, her mother, Nora, noticed one of her daughter’s eyes was becoming an opaque gray. The doctor thought it was due to a misaligned eye, a condition Ximena’s brother has, too.
Then, several months later, Ximena had a seizure. Her parents rushed her to the emergency room, where an MRI revealed a tumor in Ximena’s right eye.
Tests revealed Ximena suffered from retinoblastoma, a type of eye cancer. “They told me her life was in danger,” Nora said. The doctors referred the family to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since it opened 53 years ago.
Ximena is an angel. She is the one who makes me feel better at the worst of times.
“We were on a dark path,” Nora said. “But when we arrived at St. Jude, it was like seeing light on the path.” Ximena’s treatment has included chemotherapy, several surgeries and radiation therapy. Ximena’s right eye had to be removed because of tumor growth, but despite everything, she’s a happy child.
Nora describes Ximena as a warrior. “She’s brave, and she’s beautiful,” Nora said. “Ximena is an angel. She is the one who makes me feel better at the worst of times.”
Ximena loves to play with her dolls and plan elaborate make-believe meals in her toy kitchen. She also loves music and dancing.