As you may remember in 2014, the Ontiveros family supported their daughter, Danae, while battling Stage III Ewing’s Sarcoma (bone cancer). The Ontiveros family, once again, is in need of assistance as their daughter has been recently diagnosed with a secondary cancer as a result of her previous chemotherapy treatment in 2014. Here is their story.

On November 20, 2013 our daughter, Danae, was diagnosed with Stage III Ewing’s Sarcoma (bone cancer) at age 16.  She initially received treatment at Valley Children’s Hospital (VCH) in Madera County.  She received 6 cycles of Chemotherapy treatments which started on November 27, 2013 and ended February 28, 2014.

On March 1, 2014 we transferred care to Stanford Medical Center Lucile Packard Pediatrics Hospital in attempt to get the best possible care and outcome for our daughter’s upcoming surgical tumor removal. Danae had surgery on March 6. 2014 which removed her tumor, 3 ribs, a small portion of her left lung, and consisted of chest wall reconstruction. The surgery was a success with an optimistic prognosis. Danae required 11 additional cycles of chemotherapy which lasted over a period of 11 months. Danae underwent aggressive chemotherapy and successfully completed her treatment in October 2014. After missing most of her junior year and half of her senior year of High School, Danae returned to school January 2015, where she graduated alongside her classmates with a 4.0 GPA.

On June 9, 2016, Danae was at Lucille Packard’s Stanford Medical Center for her every-3-month chest CT scan and blood draws. She has been doing this maintenance procedure since her last chemo treatment in 2014 to be sure her previous cancer wasn’t relapsing. We didn’t expect this routine checkup to be any different from previous post-chemo checkups. We were wrong.

Danae’s June blood work revealed an abnormality in blood levels, which prompted additional testing. Soon after, Danae was diagnosed with a rare secondary cancer called post-chemotherapy Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS).

MDS is a group of diverse bone marrow disorders in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy, or immature blood cells. MDS is often referred to as a “bone marrow failure disorder.” It is primarily a disease of the elderly (most patients are older than age 65), but MDS can affect younger patients who have undergone extensive chemotherapy treatment. MDS is also called “pre-leukemia” since there is a guarantee of it turning into AML Leukemia if left untreated.

Before we were hit with this devastating news, Danae had just finished her first year of nursing school at Dominican University in San Rafael. The look on Danae’s face when her oncologist said she would not be able to return to school was indescribable and absolutely heartbreaking. It had to be one of the hardest things to hear during this second go-around with cancer. School was everything to Danae, especially since she had worked so hard and did so well during her first year of college. She looked forward to her second year as she would be starting clinicals.

Danae’s oncologist explained that high doses of chemotherapy, such as those to which Danae was exposed to while battling Ewing’s Sarcoma a year earlier, damaged her bone marrow and its ability to produce platelets along with red and white blood cells. We were further told that the treatment for MDS is a bone marrow transplant.

We were told that Danae’s brother, CJ, would have a 25% chance of being a perfect bone morrow match. A week later, CJ was tested and unfortunately was not a match. Danae now was placed on the National Bone Marrow Registry list and waited for a match. We were in desperate need to find a match, as MDS progresses into an aggressive form of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Since the new diagnosis of MDS, Danae has to complete weekly blood draws to monitor the progression of MDS into AML.

During the last few weeks, we have met with Danae’s transplant team at Stanford Medical Center. We received some good news a few weeks ago as we learned that a donor has been found through the National Bone Marrow Registry. Danae is scheduled to be admitted on Tuesday August 30, 2016 where she will receive 10 days of heavy chemotherapy treatment prior to transplant. She will be in-patient for a 2 month period of time, followed by 30–45 days in transitional housing somewhere within 10 minutes from the hospital. Unfortunately, this is going to be a huge financial strain with so many unknown variables. We have been told to plan on Danae being at Stanford for a minimum of 100 days once transplant begins.

As you can imagine, the recent string of events is completely overwhelming to us. There is no manual or book that explains what to do or how to do it.  We have already encountered significant financial demands and anticipate encountering additional and overwhelming financial demands over the next 100 plus days. Our hope is that by reaching out now, we can explore options that may be available once the time arises. As Danae’s recent decline has made clear, the transplant process is imminent. It’s fair to say things will quickly become chaotic once the transplant process begins since our focus will be solely on Danae’s needs. On behalf of my entire family, we extend our sincere thanks and appreciation.

100% of the monies donated to the fund will be donated to Danae and her family to
help defray ongoing expenses for her treatment.
Further, the Talbert Family Foundation is donating as well.

Please donate now to
Danae's Fund
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Danae's Fund
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Danae's Fund

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Danae's Fund