A 12-year-old girl with stage 4 brain cancer was all smiles when she stepped outside her Santa Clarita home to a surprise crowd of supporters singing "Happy Birthday" to her.
Sarah Donegan said she finds her strength from the support of others.
"Without everybody's prayers and all of the things they've done for us, it would just be so hard to do this alone," she said.
Donegan started having a series of seizures in January 2018. She was taken to the emergency room where a CT scan discovered a mass in her brain.
A surgeon completely removed the tumor and sent out a biopsy for testing. The results revealed that Donegan had a high-grade glioblastoma — an invasive, fast-growing tumor.
She was scheduled for 33 rounds of radiation treatments, and six weeks of chemotherapy.
Donegan's body could only handle four weeks of chemotherapy, before she had numerous platelet and bloods transfusions to boost her immune system back up.
Her doctors allowed her a five-week break, and then in July Donegan began undergoing a year-long maintenance regimen — the final treatment in attempt to get rid of possible remnants of her brain tumor.
The treatment consist of bi-weekly chemotherapy infusions at Kaiser Pediatric Infusion Center and MRI scans every two months to monitor new growths.
Sarah's mother Kathleen Donegan said the support of loved has been instrumental in keeping the family in good spirits throughout the difficult treatment period.
"Sometimes when we go down to the infusion center for chemo we kind of feel alone. It's just her and I driving down there," Kathleen said. "But to see that everyone is around us and loves us no matter where we are — it's pretty comforting and amazing."
The surprise party, amongst other kind gestures from others, has inspired Sarah to write a book for other kids with cancer.
"I want no one to ever have to go through this alone and everyone to always know that they are loved and that they're never alone when they're going through anything," Sarah said.