FAIRFIELD — Life has not been easy for 7-year-old Taliyah Sweeting.
The Fairfield girl has been undergoing chemotherapy treatment at Children’s Hospital Oakland since she was diagnosed April 8 with a rare form of soft tissue cancer called embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma.
Despite her health, the girl who loves cheering for the North Bay Panthers was able to attend the car wash held in her honor at the Carl’s Jr. on North Texas Street.
“I’m feeling awesome,” said the petite first-grader – with little hair left on her head.
Maryrose Sweeting said her daughter has spent a lot of time at the hospital lately but had to forego this week’s chemotherapy treatment because her hemoglobin and platelet levels were too low.
“She’s having a hard time recovering from the chemo,” Maryrose Sweeting said.
Taliyah recently had two blood transfusions and her mother administers daily injections for a low white blood cell count.
“I’ve become a nurse and I’ve never wanted to be,” Maryrose Sweeting said.
Taliyah’s initial symptom was a persistent stuffy nose that eventually sent her to Sutter Urgent Care in Fairfield.
“(We) finally started to get worried because it wasn’t going away,” Maryrose Sweeting said.
Taliyah underwent surgery at the Fairfield Surgery Center for what doctors thought were enlarged adenoids, Maryrose Sweeting said. Afterward they said Taliyah had a tumor a little bigger than a golf ball. Doctors were able to remove all but 2 percent, which was located on the brain stem.
But it turned out to be cancer – with a high return rate.
“It’s very, very rare,” said Sweeting. “(Children’s Hospital Oakland) said they only see three cases of it a year.”
Maria Jackson, a longtime friend of the girl’s mother, organized the car wash to raise money for the family.
“I wanted to help them out and do whatever we can to get their medical bills covered,” said Jackson, a self-described military wife.
In attendance were volunteers from the North Bay Panthers Youth Sports Organization, Operation THUGs, Pink Heels, the 60th Civil Engineering Squadron, 60th Aerial Port Squadron and 21st Airlift Squadron from Travis Air Force Base as well as the Woodland-based Ill-Famed Car Club and distributors from Scentsy, Mary Kay and It Works.
Jackson said people waited patiently to have their cars washed and offered some generous donations.
“We had people actually going home to get their other cars and bring them back,” Jackson said.
While volunteers splashed and scrubbed the steady influx of cars, Taliyah’s only nuisance appeared to be a paper cut on her finger.
“But I’m having a fun day,” she said.
For more information and to make a donation visit http://www.gofundme.com/8fk3is.
Reach Adrienne Harris at 427-6956 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aharrisdr.