12 year-old girl battling leukemia touches many lives

While many in our area were fighting traffic and snowy weather this morning (Dec. 21), one remarkable young lady was fighting for her life.

12 year-old Carla Contreras was diagnosed with leukemia in May, and sheâ??s spent the last seven months doing all she can to help others. Sheâ??s organized fundraisers, blood drives, and a toy drive for a pediatric ward in Chihuahua, Mexico.

And beyond fundraisers, she also gives of herself emotionally to help anyone in need of a kind word or a sympathetic ear.

â??Sheâ??s just done so much as an individual in such a short time,â?? said David Elizalde, a family friend. â??Sheâ??s put a smile on peopleâ??s faces. Whenever peopleâ??s families would say, â??Yeah, my momâ??s been diagnosed with cancer,â?? sheâ??d get on the phone and she would call those people and she would talk to them and tell them everythingâ??s going to be okay.â??

Elizalde said one of the qualities he admires most about Carla is her indomitable spirit and unwavering courage during her ordeal.

â??She never cried,â?? said Elizalde. â??The only time I ever saw her break down was when the pain was so substantial that she was having a hard time dealing with it. But she never said she was sad; she never said she was scared. She just knew that she was going to be strong to fight for another day.â??

While Carla was going through chemotherapy, she met another patient whose single mother works as a custodian, and didnâ??t always have access to reliable transportation to get her son to and from treatments. She decided to raise money to buy the family a car, ultimately raising about $1,100. Joe Street of Street Toyota caught wind of her efforts, and donated a Honda Accord.

â??You know, we all live our lives, itâ??s Christmas, weâ??re all doing all this stuff,â?? said Mike Good of Street Toyota, â??and to know that thereâ??s need, and thereâ??s tragedy, and thereâ??s those kinds of things among us, it feels good for us and our company to reach out and do that.â??

Carlaâ??s health has recently taken a turn for the worse, and sheâ??s currently in an induced coma in serious condition.

â??We were planning on sending her to last weekâ??s Dallas Cowboys football game,â?? said Good. â??Unfortunately, sheâ??s now in intensive care and on a breathing machine and has pneumonia, and so she wonâ??t make that football game â?¦ not this year, but next year.â??

Those who know Carla say her generous heart and altruistic nature can serve as an example for the rest of us. I asked Elizalde what others can learn from Carla.

â??Donâ??t ever give up,â?? he replied. â??Donâ??t ever give up on life, no matter what happens to you. Always believe in Christ; through Him everything is possible. And always have a smile on your face and be happy, because life is short.â??

If youâ??d like to offer Carla your thoughts or prayers, you can send cards to Northwest Texas Hospital and send your prayers to Heaven.