Tiny Isabella Anne-Marie Alcala was only one year old when she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) in 2007. Her parents, Jorge and Summer Alcala, saw their lives, hopes and dreams shattered as they watched her fight for her life.
The employees of Newport Lexus, where George and Summer were employed, poured out their love and support to the family during this painful time; the Wilson Automotive Group offered financial support; and CHOC (Children’s Hospital of Orange County) was a haven of hope and healing. Thirteen non-consecutive months of Bella’s short life were spent at CHOC undergoing every kind of treatment imaginable; and the Alcalas are forever grateful to the doctors and staff of that great hospital for their persistence and their compassion.
Just shy of her 3rd birthday, on March 3, 2009, Isabella lost her fight. You can read her story at http://www.alexslemonade.org/hero/isabella-alcala.
Though nothing can ever bring Isabella back, the Alcalas vowed to do everything in their power to support CHOC in their efforts to help and heal other children. They participate in CHOC fundraisers and walk in the annual CHOC walk as a tribute to the little angel they lost. Friends and other employees of Newport Lexus became involved as a result; and Isabella’s legacy has grown.
Dina Yano, currently the business manager at Weir Canyon Honda, worked with the Alcalas at Newport Lexus and was so impressed by all CHOC did for the family in this time of crisis, that she wanted to get involved, as well. When mom Summer left Newport Lexus and Dina moved to Weir Canyon, she continued to be passionate about CHOC. She rallied other employees and formed a corporate team (Wilson’s Pit Crew) for the annual Walk Around the Park. This year the team has grown to include 54 associates from all the dealerships; and they plan to raise $10,000 for the children of CHOC – in memory of Isabella.
With many of the patients at CHOC being too sick to attend the Walk in the Park, a special walk, known as the Minnie Walk, is brought to them – on the second floor of the hospital’s new tower. Dina and her office staff donned full costume and staffed a booth to bring gifts and goodies to the children. Though it was heartbreaking to see the little ones with their oxygen tanks, IV’s, and shaved heads, it was even more difficult to look into the eyes of the parents and see the same combination of hope and pain she had seen in the eyes of her friends all those years ago.
When you receive this newsletter, the CHOC Walk will have just taken place – on October 13. But if you, too, would like make a difference in the life of a child, please contact Dina at (714) 777-4100 to be part of our Pit Crew next year. Or you can go to www.chocwalk.org and make a donation in memory of Isabella.