Community helps 14-year-old girl with cancer celebrate early quinceañera

Local News

SHAFTER, Calif. (KGET) – For years, 14-year-old Aleena Lopez has dreamed of having a quinceañera.

“I didn’t think it was going to happen this big,” Lopez said. “Because at first it started as just a small party at my uncle’s house.”

But then, on July of 2019, two years before her 15th birthday.

“And that’s when I saw the mass, and I immediately checked her in and started the process to find out what was going on,” said Kimberly Gonzalez, Aleena’s nurse.

Lopez was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, called sarcoma. Her family decided it’d be best to have her quinceañera a few months early, before starting chemotherapy.

“I’ve been waiting for a very long time, just to feel like a princess,” Lopez said.

Her nurse, Kim, reached out to different vendors to see if they could help organize the party.

“She has gone through so much and so has her family and to be able to give them something to look forward to, on a day that they don’t have to think about doctor’s appointments, treatment, and just enjoy her, has been amazing,” Gonzalez said.

A handful offered their services for free, including an event planner.

“I just couldn’t believe that they actually wanted to help me,” Lopez said. “Someone they had no idea who they are and have never met before. That just shows that people really have kind hearts.”

The celebration had all the things that make a quinceañera memorable. Flowers, cake, a mariachi band. But most important, family.

“I mean I couldn’t ask for more,” said David Lopez, Aleena’s father. “And I just want to thank everybody that participated and made her dream come true, thank you.”

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