Fennville teen battles rare cancer, family to hold fundraiser

Posted at 6:04 PM, Mar 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-09 18:04:59-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--A 17 year old Fennville girl was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and recently learned she doesn't have long to live. The teenager and her family are getting a lot of support in their time of need.

11th grader Ana Salinas just found out about her Glioma diagnosis last week, but her family has wasted no time springing into action searching for answers, fundraising, and keeping the positive teenager's hope alive. ​

Lately, Ana's been to a lot of appointments and one of the hardest was the last one where she found out she has Glioma, a rare form of cancer.

"It was pretty hard. We never thought it was something like that," says Lucina Salinas, Ana's Mom.

With no treatment in sight, her family is in search of answers, answers they hope to find at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

"So with any type of rare type of cancer we look to see who's doing new therapies, because standard therapies don't work well,"  says Dr. David Dickens​, a Pediatric Oncologist at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital. "So we're currently in a process of evaluating all of the potential opportunities so that Ana has a chance to participate in a clinical trial to try and do something new and different that works better than the standard of care that's different, which in this category of disease does not work well."

"It helps me know that there's at least something more that can help me, more hope," says Ana.

Her doctor says with a combination of radiation and chemotherapy the growth of the tumor in her spine may be delayed one to two years. It's not much time, but Ana says she's staying positive and will continue to fight.

"All the support keeps me positive too, I just keep thinking to myself if I was like sad or depressed about it I know that it wouldn't help me either," Ana says.

But she's not alone in the fight.

"And everyone in Fennville, being in such a small community, reached out right away and they want to help here. Everyone in a situation like this thinks what if that was my child," says family friend Liz Ortega.

In addition to hopeful visits to the Mayo Clinic, the family also needs to make their home wheelchair accessible. There will be a fundraiser held at Fennville High School from 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday. You can find out more about the fundraiser and Ana by clicking here.