Santee – Six year old Riley is an active child, a Santee Princess, and close to a 3 year cancer survivor. Riley was diagnosed with a Wilms’ Tumor (a type of childhood kidney cancer) on March 9, 2010, shortly after her 3rd birthday. She had to have her right kidney removed and spent a week in the hospital. She underwent 20 weeks of chemotherapy, lost all her hair, but never her smile. She went into remission August 20, 2010.
When Riley was in the hospital, she always wears a pair of fairy wings that she had received for her birthday. Every week at chemotherapy she would wear her wings and march into clinic with her head held high. They became her signature. To this day, 3 years later, when she goes in every three months for her scans, she always wears her wings.
Riley’s parents heard of the Relay for Life and were invited by a friend who had a team to come by and check it out. The 2011 Relay for Life in Santee was their first exposure to the event. Maria Maes, then Miss Santee, greeted Riley and her family. When Maria saw Riley putting on her purple Survivor shirt, she started to cry and came over and gave Riley, her mother, Janell, and Janell’s, sister Valeie, each a hug. Janell and Valerie were not even at the event more than 10 minutes when they turned to each other out with tears in their eyes and said, “Next year we will have a team for Riley and Mom!!”
For the 2012 Relay For Life, Riley’s mother and aunt, created a team for Riley, named “Riley’s Wings of Love”. They created a “Riley’s Wings of Love” Facebook page. Between Riley’s “Wings of Love” page, her mother’s and aunt’s facebook page, over 60 people signed up to be on her team, including 9 Cancer Survivors.
Riley’s brother Reef, who was 7 years old last year, came up with an awesome on-site fundraiser. Cancer ribbons were made out of Legos. The family made 350 of them in 12 different color to represent the different types of cancer. They raised over $1600.00 for the American Cancer Society.
Riley’s family is excited for the 2013 Relay For Life of Santee this year!!! They will once again offer the Lego ribbons and other fundraisers to make 2013 the best year yet. Santee’s Relay for life starts on Saturday June 1 at 10am and ends Sunday June 2 at 10am. The location is Santee Town Center Community Park East, 550 Park Center Drive, Santee, CA 92071. Be part of the celebration of life. Visit the American Cancer’s Relay for Life Site for more information on a Relay for Life site near you: http://www.relayforlife.org/