Transcribed from the Bakersfield Californian
Californian staff writer
Ylaria Carrasco-Cazares couldn't care less about that was happening behind the podium.
Her focus was on 3-year-old Jeremy Nipper, who was sitting inthe row in front of her. Ylaria and 1-year-old sister Yoly poked their smiling faces behind Jeremy, saying, "Boo!" until he turned around. They raced around the room, between the rows of chairs. The girls' parents and others in the room just smiled. They wouldn't have it any other way.
In a small ceremony at Bakersfield's Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center, Ylaria's family received $10,000 from the Josh Farler Foundation Monday to help with Ylaria's cancer treatment.
The energetic toddler is fighting neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer of the nerve tissues. She had just turned 2 when she began suffering from frequent fevers. A couple of weeks later, a doctor found a mass in her abdomen, which was removed. Later, they found out it was neuroblastoma, and it had spread to her left knee and right ankle. The family has since split their time between Bakersfield and New York City, where she gets treatments at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Mom Belen Carrasco works as a fifth-grade teacher at Leo G. Pauly school and has taken care of Yoly and 7-year-old Belen, while dad Regino Cazares, also a teacher, has taken a year off to user Ylaria to treatments.
"We were so moved when she called and told us our family was selected. I was trembling, " Carrasco said. "It makes you feel like you're still part of the world." The family has learned that insurance doesn't cover everything and that airplane flights, hospital parking and cafeteria food can add up.
"We see a lot of families facing a variety of issues, even covered by insurance," said Dr. Rai Patel, founder of the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center.
The family can use the funds on anything they which, said Michael Nipper, the foundation's organizer. Nipper, of Bakersfield, lost his cousin, 20-year-old Josh Farler, to testicular cancer in 2005. Farler's family soon learned how expensive treatment could be. While Farler was registered to go to Idaho State, he got sick before school started, and since he was over 18 and not in school, his parent's insurance canceled coverage.
The family traveled between their hometown of Yerington Nv. and Los Angeles for treatment.
To raise money, family and friends held a poker tournament - Farler's favorite pastime - and the group has been doing it ever since,bestowing funds on other families fighting cancer.
"He'd be right here doing it, too," Nipper said of Farler fundraising for cancer. "You wonder why it happens to the good ones."