Soria-Zuniga Family’s Ray of Sunshine [Part 1 of 3]

Over the last year, the Children’s Cancer Association (CCA) has provided service to over 28,000 seriously ill children and their family members. Ruth Zuniga and Andy Soria, along with their little girl Sol, were one such family. Originally from Costa Rica, Andy and Ruth moved to the US to pursue their PhDs and had decided not to have children. However, their little “ray of sunshine,” Sol, had other plans.

A Life In and Out of Hospitals

At only two-years-old, Sol has known a life of hospitals and procedures since she was born. While Sol was in utero, her kidneys were retaining water. When she was born, her family was asked to visit the hospital every six months for scans. Between her six-month and twelve-month scans, the doctors discovered a mass. Then, only a day after her first birthday, she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, which later became high-risk stage IV neuroblastoma. In the year since, she’s undergone five surgeries, six rounds of chemo, one stem-cell rescue, twelve rounds of radiation, and six rounds of immunotherapy.

The Sunny Personality of Sol

Even through all the treatment, if you looked at Sol and saw her laugh, you’d never know the burden she’s endured. “The strength of her spirit is unmatched,” says her dad, Andy. “Even after a tough procedure, she’ll give us a smile and a high five.”

Sol loves petting farm animals, pretending to be a dinosaur, blowing bubbles with her Chemo Pal, Emily, and running around in her rubber boots. “She’s all about those boots,” laughed her mother, Ruth. “She even sleeps in them!” Sol also loves music, especially the song “Best Day of My Life” by the band American Authors, which perfectly sums up Sol’s outlook on life. She seems to greet each day with the song’s lyrics in her head, “this is gonna be the best day of my life.” For this and many other reasons, Sol was nominated as our August 2017 CCA Hero.

Many Choices

Ruth and Andy admit that during the multiple hospital visits and through all the treatments, they were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information that was given to them. The choices they had to make felt endless, but one choice stood out above the others, CCA’s Chemo Pal Mentor Program.

In our next post, (part 2 of 3) you’ll learn more about Sol’s treatment, how CCA’s support made all the difference to Sol and her parents, and you’ll see the impact your donations have on seriously ill children like her.