Shayda Jaqueline was born on January 4, 2011 in Mission Viejo, California. Shayda, whose name means “lovesick” in Farsi, instantly stole the hearts of everyone she met. She was born the younger sister to brother Pasha and became the perfect completion to a wonderful family. As Shayda grew, two things became strongly apparent about our girl. She had a huge heart that she shared with everyone she met and she had a stronger will than most adults. Shayda always knew what she wanted, from fashion to food, and she was going to get it!
Fast forward five years, Shayda is now ready to start Kindergarten. However, two months into the school year, we start to recognize a few changes in our precious girl. Never the one to complain, her mom noticed that Shayda’s stomach was becoming distended and her face seemed shallow. Upon motherly instinct, Shayda was taken to the doctor. After an ultrasound and multiple scans, the family’s worst fears were realized. Our beautiful, strong-willed Queen (Shayda has never been a Princess, as she knows the Queen is boss and she will forever be Queen Shayda) was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. The doctors found a Wilms Tumor in Shayda’s kidney. We were being told that our little girl would go through major surgery to remove the tumor and a kidney, followed by eight months of chemotherapy. How do you tell your child that you have to put them through hell to save them? How do you sit back and put your baby’s life in the hands of someone you just met?
Through it all, the one person who never lost her smile, who was encouraging all those around her, was Shayda. Shayda knew that Queens and Super Heroes didn’t give up and couldn’t be beaten. Through that year she showed us all what it meant to be “Shayda Strong.” Being “Shayda Strong” means staying positive when you know you’re going to be poked with needles and sick for days on end. Being “Shayda Strong” means dancing and singing as you walk into the chemo ward at the hospital. It means making crafts and pictures for your family and friends when you’re in the hospital, because you want them to feel loved too. It means having FaceTime playdates because your immune system can’t handle being around kids your own age. Being “Shayda Strong” isn’t just a phrase we say, it’s an attitude we live by.
Our mission is to help encourage children who are battling cancer, along with their families, and let them know they are not alone. We are here to give uplifting gifts to hospitalized children, offer emotional support, advice, education and awareness, a listening ear, and hugs. The money raised from donations and fundraisers makes the gift-giving possible. We know first-hand the fears that follow when a child is diagnosed with cancer and we want to ease the journey for others in any way that we can. We are uniting to help other children and their loved ones stay strong and fight cancer.
We are reaching out to children with cancer and their families. Our goal is to to keep young cancer patients' hearts full of love, encouragement and strength for their fight. We give hospitalized children toys and crafts and other thoughtful gifts that will lift their spirits. We want parents and siblings to know they are not alone, as the battle against cancer is not fought by one. We stand united to keep the hearts of everyone facing childhood cancer strong. It is our hope to build a network support system for the young cancer warriors and their families so that they can all be "Shayda Strong"!