Young Aurora Girl Honored After Year-Long Battle With Cancer

February 7, 2024 0 By JohnValbyNation

AURORA, IL — A 12-year-old girl with cancer was honored Tuesday night by City Council, one year into her treatment.

The regular Committee of the Whole meeting kicked off with a presentation and award ceremony for Abigail Ayala, a sixth-grader from Aurora. The student was diagnosed on Feb. 7, 2023, with a desmoplastic small round cell tumor, an aggressive sarcoma, according to city officials.

Ayala has undergone major surgery to remove 95 percent of the tumor, officials said. She is in the process of completing her 18th and final round of chemotherapy before beginning radiation, which will target the last 5 percent of the cancerous tumor left in her pelvis area.

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“We honor her, her courage, her strength, her smile, her positive nature,” Clayton Muhammad, senior advisor to the mayor and chief engagement officer, said at the meeting. “In the words of Alicia Keys, this girl is on fire, and we hope soon we can say the words of Destiny’s Child: ‘She’s a survivor.'”

Mayor Richard Irvin presented Ayala with an Award of Valor to commend her brave year-long battle with cancer.

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“Promise me one thing,” Irvin said to Ayala. “Let us know when you get your final cancer-free notice so the whole community can celebrate with you.”

Staff honored Ayala in recognition of World Cancer Day, observed on Feb. 4.

The student’s mother, Sandra, described her daughter as resilient and full of strength.

“Hearing those words that my daughter had cancer was the worst nightmare,” Sandra Ayala said Tuesday night. “But here she is, resilient a year later [and] almost done with treatment. … We’re very proud of her. She’s pushed hard, she’s been through a lot. … She’s given us strength to keep moving, to keep her going. She’s got this. She’ll get there.”

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