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Vail Valley girl battles cancer

Sarah Mausolf
smausolf@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail DailyDiana Michelle Lopez from Edwards has been undergoing chemotherapy at the Denver Children's Hospital.
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EDWARDS – The community is rallying behind an 11-year-old girl battling cancer.

Diana Michelle Lopez from Edwards has been staying in a Denver children’s hospital, fighting Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“She’s a strong little girl,” said her aunt, Brenda Cortes. “For some reason God gave us this. She’s a strong girl and she knows she’s going to be OK.”



On Saturday, her family plans a dance party at the Eagle fairgrounds to raise money for Lopez’s medical costs.

Students at Berry Creek Middle School also envision a series of fundraisers for their classmate. Lopez’s dual-language teacher, Aliria Bello, said the Berry Creek community plans a school dance, car wash and a dodgeball tournament.



“We just want to make her life as happy as possible during this transition of this terrible illness,” she said. “We want to put a smile on her face.”

About six months ago, a lump appeared on Lopez’s chest and her parents took her to the doctor, Cortes said. At first, doctors did not detect the cancer, but when the lump continued to grow, Diana’s parents became even more concerned. On March 6, Diana flew from the Vail Valley Medical Center to the Denver Children’s Hospital in a helicopter, Cortes said. There, a biopsy confirmed she had cancer.

“We were so sad, and we couldn’t believe that was happening to us,” Cortes said.



Diana’s family has been at her side at the hospital. Her parents, Gretell Olvera and Victor Cortes, also have two baby girls, ages seven months and 2 1/2, Cortes said.

Diana doesn’t have health insurance, Cortes said. Her family doesn’t know yet how much her medical treatment will cost but they fear the price will be high.

Students at Berry Creek Middle School want to help.

They raised nearly $200 during a recent bake sale for Diana. As a mother of a 10-year-old girl herself, Bello said her heart goes out to Diana and her family.

“It is her today,” she said. “Tomorrow it could be one of us.”

Bello said when she spoke to Diana on the phone on Friday, the 11-year-old could barely speak. She plans to visit her student in the hospital and wishes the best for her recovery.

“I hope she doesn’t go through that much pain and she can overcome this fight,” Bello said.

Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or smausolf@vaildaily.com.


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