For Diego, For Ash, For Christian, For Christina, For The Kids & For The Angels

Growing up is a beautiful thing. Let’s fight for it.

My Story

When life gives you lemons, you’re expected to make lemonade. Since the summer of 2015, life has been pelting me with the most rancid of lemons when my younger brother Diego was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. Somehow I had to honor my commitment and show up to work the next day as a camp counselor to love and support dozens of healthy and happy kids doing the fun, youthful activities my brother would never again do. Not only did the news wreck what was supposed to be an amazing summer, but it also defaced the following school year. 

My junior year was my most exhausting year by far. It typically is for many students across the country, but for my two triplet siblings and I, it was not as academically challenging as it was personally. I constantly caught myself mentally calculating how to “cure” Diego with the not so vast knowledge I had obtained from watching Grey’s Anatomy and taking honors biology. I was regularly conflicted on what to prioritize. Do I choose solitarily trying to keep my grades up or watching cartoons with my medically erratic brother? It might seem like an obvious answer, family comes first, right? Yet with the high standards of Weston High School mixed with my dreams of being a successful doctor, the decision quickly became more opaque. 

Even now, almost 4 years after his passing, any intimation that triggers a memory of him is still poignant, but it simultaneously helps me push myself out of my melancholy state and focus in and concentrate on my goals. My brother's disease went from an academic interference to the reason I want to pursue higher levels of education. I have always been drawn to children, maybe because I am one at heart, but after seeing the immediate and collateral effects of cancer firsthand, I discovered that I can help others and spend time with children while incorporating my passion for science and medicine by becoming a pediatric oncologist.

Join us in our commitment to turn childhood dreams into reality by supporting THON. This year, I am taking action by uniting with 16,500 student volunteers and over 25,000 alumni supporters in the fight against childhood cancer. Our year-long efforts culminate in a 46-hour, no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon each February to celebrate our survivors, remember those we’ve lost, and take a stand--all in hopes of one day dancing in celebration of a cure.

Throughout the year, I will be fundraising to benefit THON in an effort to provide outstanding financial and emotional support and spread THON’s mission world-wide. It is my hope that one day, every child will have the opportunity to live out their dreams. 

Since 1977, THON has raised over $157 million for Four Diamonds at Penn State Children’s Hospital, providing comprehensive care for 4,000 families and fund critical research to take our fight beyond central Pennsylvania and spread hope around the world. We work year-round to provide both financial and emotional support for our families, ensuring that they never have to face cancer alone. 

I truly appreciate any support you provide, either by making a donation or by sharing my page on social media to spread THON’s mission.

The Angels

Diego Summers (11/22/2004 - 01/30/2016)
My younger brother Diego loving the Christmas season a few years before his diagnosis.
Ash Baird
Ash came to the United States from Japan at the age of 11.  Even at that young age, she was brave and stubborn and quietly fierce but with a smile that would melt the sternest countenance. We called her “the panther” because she was fast, sleek and beautiful (and could sneak out of the house without a sound). Ash quickly became known for her soccer prowess, first in our small town of Weston then on the US national scene. Her talent was great but it was her joyful play that was most remarkable. She radiated happiness on the field. Ash approached her cancer the same way she approached soccer – fearless and faithful.  We miss her every day. She was a loving sister to both her US and Japanese siblings all of whom carry her in their lives every day. She remains an inspiration to all of us who loved her.
- Rebekah Mannix (Ash's godmother)

Christian Isaih Lopez - aka Worm - (02/26/03 - 08/11/2016)
It is more than an understatement to say Christian (Chris) has a vibrant smile and larger than life personality. Being diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma at 12 did not dull his shine. His love of all things related related to wrestling never waned. His strong desire to return to school never wavered. His dreams, his goals and ambitions remained a reality. He met Diego when they were both in treatment. He encouraged Diego to fight on and made a date to get together with their remote control cars. It is with this confidence and surety that he approached his battle with cancer. Today we embody the strength, courage and determination I witnessed every day in my son.
- Christina Ribeiro (Chris' mom)

Christina Dangond (02/27/2006 - 01/26/2018)
"Since the day she was born she was a light who shone on anyone who encountered her. She was humble, passionate, and caring in everything she did. Despite fighting cancer for half of her life, she faced every day with a smile and an incredible amount of energy and hope. Her life was a miracle, and she enjoyed every moment of it, going to school, parties with friends, and dance practices between visits to the hospital. When asked, she said that the happiest day of her life was 'every single day'. She never failed to see the bright side whenever things looked bad, and she left us with a legacy of faith, hope, and love."


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