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February 8, 2011 > Young student fights Leukemia

Young student fights Leukemia

Story and photo courtesy of Oliveira Elementary School

Oliveira first grader, Lynette Santos, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) in May 2008, just after she turned 5 years old; for about a month prior to diagnosis she had been complaining of stomach pain and pain in her bones. Chemotherapy and steroid treatment including hospital stays, hair loss and other complications lasted 2 years. In August 2010, Lynette returned to school. Unfortunately, relief and happiness were short-lived.

Barely a month later, Lynette suffered a relapse. Her mother, Noemi said, "So many emotions ran through us - fear, denial, shock. We were scared for our daughter's life because we knew this time the leukemia would be harder to treat."

Chemotherapy treatment resumed and Lynette underwent a bone marrow transplant; her sister, who also attends kindergarten at Oliveira, was the donor. Lynette will be required to stay in the hospital for approximately 90 days to recover from the procedure. Lynette's current and previous classmates are sending drawings and special letters that help brighten her smile and mood.

To help Lynette and others stricken by ALL, Oliveira Elementary School is coordinating "Pennies for Patients" to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). Lynette's mom said she knows LLS really help patients and is pleased with the school's effort.

Oliveira Principal, Linda Anderson has added her own "challenge." If the staff and students collect at least $1000, the principal will dye her hair pink!

Not surprisingly, Lynette's condition has put an immense financial burden on the family, apart from an emotional and physical toll. The family moved from their home to Lynette's grandparents' apartment to save mortgage payments. Noemi left her job to care for Lynette and daily living expenses became more difficult; the added burden of expensive prescriptions and transportation is crushing.

Donations of cash, checks and gift cards in any amount may be deposited on the blue counter in the school office. Also, a bank account has been opened for the family. Please make checks payable to: "All Eagles for Lynette" and mail to: Oliveira Elementary School, 4180 Alder Avenue, Fremont 94536. For further information, contact the school at (510) 797-1135.

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