Spaghetti dinner to benefit North Huntingdon toddler with cancer
By Michael DiVittorio
Published: Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, 1:11 a.m.
Norwin High School student council and White Oak Rotary Club are coming together to support a North Huntingdon Township toddler and her family.
Mila Eve Sacramento was diagnosed with choroid plexus carcinoma — a very rare and highly aggressive malignant brain tumor that affects the central nervous system — on Oct. 10, two days after her third birthday.
She is the daughter of Dawn Sommers and her fiancé Neal Sacramento, 1996 Norwin graduates.
“Of course it's devastating hearing your 3-year-old has brain cancer,” Neal Sacramento said.
Mila underwent surgery on Oct. 15 to remove 90-95 percent of the tumor, then started her first round of chemotherapy.
Sacramento said the family has spent many nights at Children's Hospital of UPMC and the Children's Institute in Squirrel Hill, and Mila has at least three more rounds of therapy to go.
“This battle hopefully is on its way out,” he said. “We don't know exactly what the road holds for her. There are some people who get three or four cancers. We're hoping Mila's not one of those and doesn't go through that pain and suffering. We're just taking it one day at a time.”
Mila has endured several surgeries, procedures and exams. She recently was diagnosed with Li-Fraumeni syndrome, a rare disorder caused by a mutated gene, which greatly increases her risk of developing several types of cancer.
“She's doing good,” Sacramento said of his daughter's spirits. “Her personality is almost back to normal. I think she doesn't really understand (her condition), which is good. When we were at the hospital, she kind of got used to it because we were there for so long. She's a fighter. She's a strong-willed person. A lot's happened to her.”
A spaghetti dinner is scheduled for Sunday.
Ryan Lynn, Norwin student council's advisor and a White Oak Rotary member, attended school with Mila's parents.
He talked to the student council about the family and a possible benefit for Mila when he heard about her condition.
“Being the kids that they are, they all jumped on board,” Lynn said.
Support began to swell as the Rotary and others learned of the family.
“We had some unbelievable business donors step up that have been just absolutely tremendous in regards to helping to cut down the costs to pull this off,” Lynn said.
Sacramento said proceeds will pay for medical bills and other items Mila needs.
“Everyone's been so great and so supportive,” he said. “Any little bit helps, of course, but it's nice to have people in your corner supporting you. It is difficult. I'm sure there are people out there who don't have the support that we have and are going through a lot of tough times. It's definitely nice to know that thoughts and prayers are with you, and people are behind you. It makes things a lot easier.”
Mila's father said she is looking forward to returning home to play with her dog Niko and watch Disney movies.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1965, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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