PEARSALL, Texas — Adelyn Esquivel is trying to remain strong and positive. She's been sick at school. Her illness reared its ugly head at home. It led to a revealing trip to a San Antonio emergency room in May. Doctors discovered a mass on her brain.
"I did tell her in the beginning that she was sick and that it's called cancer," Danielle Escalante said.
Escalante is Adelyn's mother. She said the brain mass news felt like a movie scene. A scene where her daughter was starring in a family nightmare. Subsequent visits to the doctor determined her oldest and only daughter had medulloblastoma.
According to MD Cancer, medulloblastoma is a kind of brain tumor that starts in the cerebellum. In fact, 20 percent of childhood brain tumors are medulloblastoma. The American Cancer Society said about 500 children annually are diagnosed with it.
Adelyn had surgery. Her mother said 99 percent of the tumor was removed. The elementary school student still had to take on 30 rounds of radiation to her brain and spine. Nine cycles of chemo were also a part of her battle against the brain cancer.
"She lost 20 pounds," Escalante said.
Her daughter dropped two clothing sizes and lost her beautiful head of hair. The child had three more surgeries connected to her condition.
Adelyn's ailment did not go unnoticed. The honor society at Pearsall High School invited her to a pep rally in October honoring breast cancer survivors. Members of the scholastic group have honored cancer heroes before.
"It puts you back in reality to be grateful for every day," Rossi Rodriguez said. "There's someone going through worse things than you."
Rodriguez, Alyssa Jasso and Amaris Falcon are members of the 90-member honor society. Once they found out blood transfusions were a part of Adelyn's recovery, the group put together a blood drive.
"I just think the blood drive is a good way to help her out," Jasso said.
The blood drive is at Pearsall High School's dance hall on Tuesday from 9:00-2:45 p.m. It's open to the public. The students' goal is 80 donors. They have 70 signed up.
"Even the people that were scared of needles decided to sign up because they were like, 'hey it's helping somebody,'" Falcon said.
The gesture brought Escalante to tears.
"There's no way I could pay back the people of Pearsall," she said.
Adelyn is now home bound as to not compromise her immune system. When she's up to it, her mother said she plays with her six- and three-year-old brothers.