A 13-year-old Los Banos girl battling cancer has one wish. It’s to go to Disneyland. And Los Banos High school is trying to make that wish come true.
Ashley Fernandez has adrenocortical carcinoma, which is a cancer of the adrenal cortex. She’s been on the Make-A-Wish Central California list for the past five months.
“This year we wanted homecoming week to be more than just about building a float and having a rally,” said Activities Director Veronica Seaborn. “We wanted the students to give back to the community.”
Seaborn said that since this year’s homecoming theme is all about Disney-Pixar movies, it was a great fitting to reach out to someone who has a wish to go to Disneyland. Little did she know someone in Los Banos would be on that list.
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“Ashley feels really thankful for everyone. She’s pretty excited,” said Alejandra Fernandez, Ashley’s mother. “She can’t believe that more people are knowing about her.”
All week students have been rallying at school and within the community to raise enough money to send Ashley and her family on the trip, which Seaborn estimates could cost around $2,000.
“The plan is to raise around $2,000, or whatever the family would need to go,” Seaborn said. “I would be happy to see half that amount. We really want to make her wish come true.”
Alejandra Fernandez said that when Ashley got sick last year, she and her family didn’t even think about cancer.
“She’s my miracle. She got sick to a point where they didn’t think she was going to make it through the night,” Fernandez said.
The family found out shortly after that it was cancer.
“I was dying and she was holding my hand. She said, ‘You have to be strong,’ she didn’t cry, she was fine for three weeks,” Fernandez said. “She was really strong.”
After surgery and enduring oral chemotherapy, Fernandez said the doctors are hopeful for a cancer-free Ashley within the next six to seven months.
“She went through a lot. And now her main thing is to get the word out about childhood cancer,” Fernandez said.
Ashley is back at school and has every hope to attend Los Banos High School as a student.
“She has a lot of dreams she wants to come true, and to help other kids,” Fernandez said. “She said, ‘If other kids go through treatment, she wants them to know there is hope.’”
Ashley and her family also are invited to all of LBH’s homecoming events next Friday including a parade, a school rally – which will incorporate Justin Bieber’s music because he is Ashley’s favorite singer – and of course the big football game against the Ceres Bulldogs, where students will also collect money.
“Since Los Banos is such a small town and LBH is such a big part of this town, what better way to spread the word,” Seaborn said. “Hopefully people will invite their friends and family and they will see that the money is going towards a good cause.”