Some of the bravest patients in a hospital are the kids fighting cancer. The disease creeps into their little bodies, and they face it with incredible courage.
A couple in Fort Worth sees that every day in their little girl and the other children getting treatment with her at Cook Children's Medical Center.
"We would like to find a cure for this, to bring a smile to their faces, to their parents' faces," said Gino Ayala, father of four-year-old cancer patient Josephine.
"We want to to give them hope, hope," echoed Josephine's mom Victoria Ayala.
To spread that hope, the Ayalas started a nonprofit foundation called "Dreaming the Cure" to support medical research that will lead to a cure for childhood brain tumors.
The first fundraiser is an Antique/Custom Car, Bike and Truck show that happens Saturday, Sept. 25 from 4-9pm in Saginaw.
"We got a bunch of friends together and they said, 'Let's do a show. We'll help you'," recalled Gino Ayala.
Josephine and the kids in the hematology/oncology clinic with her on Tuesdays are in charge of the prizes for the car show - handmade drawings with each child's personal story on the back.
Seeing them work so hard empowers and inspires.
"Anytime these families get together to try and promote something, especially a cure for their child and other children, it goes like wildfire," explained Trina Burks, the Child Life Specialist in charge of activities at the clinic.
"The Dreaming The Cure is a step for all of us to get together and make more people aware of what our children are going through," explained Linda Mundt of Arlington. Her 10-year-old daughter Rebecca is getting chemotherapy to fight the cancerous tumor in her brain.
Five-year-old Zoe Austin of Denton is drawing posters for the car contest, too, and plans to be there on Saturday.
"She's excited," said mom Kirsten Austin. "All of the parents, we don't know if it's because of the situation, but all the parents are very compassionate, especially with other kids."
The Ayalas easily recall that day in April 2007 when they learned the life of their 15-month-old daughter was in jeopardy.
"That day they told us she had a brain tumor," said Victoria Ayala. "It was devastating because at the time, we were told she only had a year to live."
Josephine had six-hours of surgery, but part of the tumor remained in her brain. Life went on, though, and doctors regularly checked to see if the tumor was growing.
It did. In fall of 2009, the Ayalas learned Josephine was in danger again. Weekly rounds of chemotherapy for 14 months was the only option.
And it appears to be working.
"And her tumor for the third time, has shrunk," said a relieved Victoria Ayala.
"The medicines that have been continuing through research, we're finding cures," she explained. "For the first time, the doctor said, 'In doing this chemo, may possibly cure Josephine,' and I didn't think that would ever come out of his mouth, but because he said that, that gives us hope."
And spreading that hope is the goal of the Ayalas' new Dreaming The Cure foundation. All money raised from the first fundraiser, the car show, will be donated to The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.
DREAMING THE CURE
1st Annual Antique/Custom Car, Bike and Motorcycle Show
Sat., Sept. 25, 4pm - 9pm
Shoppa's, 5445 S. Blue Mound Rd., Saginaw
$25 registration, free for spectators