Michael Anthony Aguirre is a vivacious and hardworking young man. In February 2015, Michael was diagnosed and began treatment for osteosarcoma. Teenagers are the most commonly affected age group, but osteosarcoma – a cancerous tumor in a bone – can occur at any age. Michael has osteosarcoma on three quarters of his humerus bone in his left arm. He had seven inches of his humerus bone removed a few months ago and is currently undergoing chemotherapy; Michael will endure more than 20 chemotherapy treatments in all. The unknowns of cancer and constantly feeling sick are weighing heavily on Michael. He has always been a “big” (6’2”), strong kid with a strong work ethic. Until he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, Michael worked part time at a law firm, and on weekends at Rally’s Hamburgers. Giving up his jobs was very difficult for him, but Michael lives in Yuma, Arizona and has to travel three hours to Phoenix for his treatments because there are no pediatric oncologists in Yuma. Michael’s family has rallied around him to do whatever they can to help him maintain a positive attitude. His sister, Diana, is an avid cyclist on team B4T9 and has been a longtime supporter and participant in the Mike Nosco Memorial Bicycle Ride. This year, Diana will be riding for Michael and the other 2015 recipients!
Calista Hope Mabalot may only be three years old, but she’s already proven herself to be a “Warrior Princess” in her family’s hearts. Calista Hope was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in January 2015. ALL is the most common cancer amongst childhood cancers, with a 95% survival rate. On February 17, 2015, Calista Hope was declared in remission, but she still has a long two to two and a half year battle ahead to ensure that she will not relapse. Her last chemotherapy treatment is scheduled for May 29, 2017. Calista Hope is one of four children in the Mabalot family; she has a rambunctious twin brother Lil’ Iz, and two wonderful Ates (big sisters) Ate Naiya and Ate Adrael. Adding to the family’s stress, Calista Hope’s dad, Israel, is in the United State Air Force and was activated in February; he is therefore working four hours away, keeping him away from home five days a week. Fortunately, the Mabalot family has been blessed with much support from family and friends. Calista Hope is about to go through one of the toughest phases of her treatment and Israel has requested family leave so that the family can all be together during this difficult time. She is also participating in a research study that will help shed light on this disease and hopefully determine what chemotherapy regimens can be used for children with ALL to lessen the long-term side effects of chemotherapy. Calista Hope will undoubtedly have some tough days ahead, but the Mabalot family are determined they will ultimately beat ALL!
Marie Johnson is a breast cancer survivor! Marie was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2012; she underwent chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Marie suffered complications and many setbacks during her battle with breast cancer. Fortunately her last few tests have shown that she is currently cancer-free. Unfortunately, a few months ago Marie was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Marie is extremely tired and understandably feeling defeated to be faced with the Parkinson’s diagnosis after finally beating breast cancer. At just 70 years old, Marie and her husband should be traveling and enjoying their golden years, instead, Marie’s husband has been lovingly working day and night as her full time caregiver. Marie has been battling one disease or another for more than three and a half years; it has taken its toll on Marie and her family. Marie’s daughter, Karen, a local cyclist hopes the support and encouragement Marie will receive from being a part of the Mike Nosco Memorial Bicycle Ride 2015 will be just the boost she needs to keep fighting!