Updated: December 12, 2020 07:50 PM
Created: December 12, 2020 06:17 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —The girl behind New Mexico’s Cancer Awareness license plate is getting some national attention from Disney.
12-year-old Tali made a wish that was granted through the Make-A-Wish Foundation last year.
“My name is Tali and I wished for a Disney camper,” Tali said.
Tali’s obsession with Disney started right after she was diagnosed with Stage Four neuroblastoma on her tenth birthday in 2018.
“It's a solid tumor that usually occurs in the adrenal gland, like I mentioned, with Tali’s case it formed in her chest. It was a tumor that was sitting right in the center, and it was about 16, about 16 and a half centimeters,” said Julian Vargas, Tali’s mom.
“It took up her whole chest. It was a very large tumor, and then she also had it in her bone marrow. Head-to-toe, completely covered in disease, so that classified her as Stage Four,” she added.
Tali’s been through 18 months of treatment, a major surgery, two stem cell transplants, five rounds of chemo and three rounds of immunotherapy. Now, Tali is participating in a clinical trial.
While a lot has changed for the 12-year-old, one thing has remained constant for her.
“My favorite movie is Lilo and Stitch,” she said.
The Vargas’ will be the first to tell how much they’ve relied on each other throughout Tali’s treatment, and how her wish helped lift their spirits.
“When we were in the worst part of Tali's treatment, which looking back it was all pretty hard. I don't know that any part was worse. It was all pretty hard, but to have something like her wish to give us a little bit of joy in a time where we were struggling quite a bit—It really makes a difference,” said Tali’s mother.
Now, Tali and her family are sharing their story on the national level through The Wish Effect—Disney’s new web series.
“It just makes me happier because of everything. It's a camper, and I just love going camping. I like just sitting in it sometimes,” she said.
This in not the first time Tali’s story has made a difference. While receiving treatment in Colorado, Tali saw a Cancer Awareness license plate, and immediately knew she had to make one for New Mexico. The funds from the plate go directly to the State Health Department to be distributed.
As for how the pandemic has impacted Tali's family?
“We joked in the beginning, that everyone knows what it's like to be in a pediatric cancer's family now. We've been wearing masks for two and a half years,” said Gabe Vargas, Tali’s father.
“I have a joke that we set the trend of mask wearing,” Tali said.
“We wore them before it was cool,” added Julian.
The Vargas’ know just how important it is to be extra careful for your loved ones.
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