On October 10, 2020, the Cox family discovered that her beloved daughter Za’Miya was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, also known as DIPG, and their life changed forever. DIPG is a type of tumor that starts in the brain stem and progressively affects the nerves and muscles that allow us to see, hear, walk, talk, and even eat.
However, since day one, Za’Miya’s mother showed strength and love towards her daughter fighting against this terrible disease and supporting her every step. Due to the aggressiveness of the disease Za’Miya’s doctor told her family she only had from 6 months to 2 years to live. Her family and her strong faith helped them to survive these tough times.
In this, it is important to highlight that DIPG has a survival rate of less than 1%. This disease can also affect older teens and adults, but it is more common among children. The treatment includes palliative radiation, and the therapy remains almost the same since the 70s.
Unfortunately, on May 17th Za’Miya left us after a 10-month battle against cancer. As her mother mentioned in Za’Miya’s Instagram account, her daughter will be forever 10 years old. Her love and brightness will always be remembered and cherished by those who knew about her and her fight.
Faith and Love
Herein, Cancer is a complex disease that impacts every single member of a family group. However, it is important to have in mind that all the efforts and sacrifices must be aimed to ease the patient’s symptoms, so each treatment session also produces union and strength among relatives and not fear and anxiety.
Also, it is important to highlight that DIPG, like several other types of cancer, affects not only the body and mind of the patient but also their behavior, and as consequence, their interactions with the world. Therefore, parents need to deliver positive messages that stimulate their kids’ imagination and that safeguard their mental health.
Among the resources, we can mention books and music, as well as online programs, that aim to alleviate the children’s feelings and conflicted emotions by allowing them to interact with different scenarios where they become the main character of a story.
In summary, cancer is still a complex and emotionally taxing disease in which patients require all our love and constant dedication. Za’Miya’s mom taught us this incessantly, during those 10 months of treatment in which she lived what her little one did every day.
It is in these circumstances where we can see how love transcends life marking certain experiences as unique and perennial, a model in which to find inspiration to keep helping the most in need.
Finally, from Friends of Rick Daniels, we want to send a message to Za’Miya’s family from our platform. A thank you for teaching us strength and how the constant act of giving can restore our faith for the future; but also, a thank you to Za’Miya herself, for giving us that amazing joy for living and an irreplaceable smile.
By Eduardo Guillen