Written by Katia Conte, Executive Director/President
Saturday, July 31st, 2021
Today marks the last day of Sarcoma Awareness Month. Our commitment is to spread awareness and fight Rhabdomyosarcoma every single day of the entire year. Thank you all who join us in the fight for today, tomorrow, and until it's gone. You have made a difference through your advocacy and action and by helping us share our posts and to let the world know about sarcoma and the needs of sarcoma pediatric patients and their families.
🎗REMEMBERING THE LIFE OF DANIELA MARIE CONTE🎗
"Daniela was born a very healthy, beautiful, playful, extraordinary, and happy baby. Hindsight doesn’t give us the privilege of knowing where things went wrong. But they did. They went terribly, terribly wrong when, at 5 years old, she was diagnosed with cancer. Up until then, there was absolutely no indication whatsoever that she was sick, not from the pediatricians’ perspective, nor the keen eye of an experienced parent. It was like watching those television commercials about horrible diseases that strike other children, but you just know in your gut, and you thank God, that it will never happen to your child. But it did. It can strike any child, at any time, and in the most surreptitious of ways.
Daniela was the strongest life force we have ever felt. She practically glowed. No person was more radiant, beautiful, courageous, or loving. To know her was to have your soul penetrated by pure goodness. Life was her canvas for us to watch her display such joy and beauty; it was a wondrous rainbow of colors, life, determination, energy, intelligence, and love.
For almost four years, Daniela defied the odds. In Oct. 2016, Daniela was diagnosed with Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma. When the doctors told us she was diagnosed with cancer I didn't even know what the word sarcoma meant. I remember searching the internet for anything hopeful. The primary tumor was found in her hepatic portal vein and then metastasized into her liver.
Daniela endured 54 weeks of chemotherapy, 3 weeks of radiation, multiple experimental procedures only to have the cancer return four times. Countless doctors called Daniela a miracle. Relapse after relapse, she kept fighting... and kept beating it. Unfortunately, in Feb. 2020, we were told that the cancer had returned and this time, it would be relentless. When the doctors told us that there was nothing else left that they could do, I found it hard to believe and thought to myself this can't be happening, and that my daughter is a fighter, and was going to beat this monster once again. Unfortunately, her body became too weak to fight off this disease and passed away on March 2, 2020.
Four months after Daniela's passing, my husband and I founded the Daniela Conte Foundation to raise awareness and fund research for Rhabdomyosarcoma. We had no idea that her cancer had very little funding and we were shocked at how the treatments she was receiving were over 30 years old. Although Daniela is no longer with us, we hope another child can be saved and will continue to raise money and awareness for the awful disease that stole her life.
Our greatest gift is that we will forever be Daniela's parents. Her nearly eight years were a blessing, and in her short time, her smile, laugh, determination, and absolute love for life affected so many who came in contact with her or followed her story. Our inspiration for establishing the Daniela Conte Foundation belongs solely to our amazing daughter who once told us, "I want to become a doctor one day and find a cure for cancer.” We hope to make her wish come true."
-Daniela's mom, Katia Conte