Young Walla Walla cancer patient hopes to raise funds for dream vacation

WALLA WALLA, Wash. — A young girl in Walla Walla is battling cancer, and during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a California-based non-profit is hoping to bring her a little joy with a trip to Hawaii. 

Ten-year-old Destiny Lara was diagnosed with a large brain tumor in April, but it wasn’t that long ago that she was your typical bright-eyed, energetic child.  

“I would go to school every day,” Destiny said, “I had a lot of energy and I was just living a normal life.” 

Earlier this year, there was a noticeable shift.

“She was very tired, lethargic … she just wasn’t herself,” explained Destiny’s sister, Crystal Madrigal.  

Crystal says Destiny would sleep all day, she wouldn’t eat and she wasn’t growing. Destiny was diagnosed with a large brain tumor, known as a germ cell tumor.  

“It hasn’t been too hard, but it wasn’t too easy,” Destiny said of her surgery and treatments.  

“She is very tough,” Crystal said. “To hear her words say that makes me so happy because everything she’s been through has been a lot. It has not been easy whatsoever.” 

Destiny has only recently returned home from the hospital within the past week, her first time back since April 23.  

After hearing her story, Campaign One at a Time decided to help raise money for Destiny’s dream trip to Kona, Hawaii.  

“Obviously when a child is battling cancer, there are a lot of things that the family has to go through,” said OAAT Campaign Director Nick Ordoñez. “As long as they are battling a life-threatening illness, like cancer, and they want something positive to look forward to, that’s where we step in.” 

The fundraiser has been posted on Campaign One at a Time’s website, with a fundraising goal of $5,000 to pay for flights.  

“If we do reach the goal of $5,000 for Destiny, every dollar that we go above that goal will go to other kids like Destiny’s dreams come true,” Ordoñez explained.  

Crystal has also created a Go-fund-me page for Destiny’s medical expenses.  

While the family dreams of seeing Destiny on a beach in Hawaii, they’re also dreaming of a world where brain cancer is no longer a concern.  

“I want people to know (symptoms), because if we were to know the signs of brain tumors, she would have been through treatment way ahead of time,” Crystal said. “We just didn’t know.” 

Signs of a brain tumor can include headaches that become more frequent or severe, unexplained nausea or vomiting, vision or balance issues and fatigue.  

If you have symptoms of concern, you should consult with a doctor.