Briana's Story 

Shortly after her 10th birthday, Briana Vega began experiencing pains throughout her body, including her knees, elbows, wrists and feet. The fun-loving little girl, who was a proud member of her fourth grade chorus, was increasingly fatigued and was experiencing fevers. Her parents Humberto and Joyce took her to a nearby urgent care center, which referred her to her pediatrician who immediately sent her to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. After taking her blood, doctors found that Briana had five times the normal white blood cell count and performed a bone marrow biopsy. The results were something no parent ever wants to hear, “your daughter has cancer.”

On February 22, 2012, Briana was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia with the Philadelphia chromosome. She responded very well to chemotherapy and went into remission 29 days later, eventually undergoing treatment at the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Cancer Center, the largest pediatric cancer center in the region.

Almost exactly two years later, on February 24, 2014, Briana passed away after fighting so bravely against the cancer. Our hearts go out to her family and friends who have suffered this very difficult loss. Throughout her journey, Briana did more than just help raise funds for the children of South Florida and beyond; she taught us what a passion for life combined with a brave spirit can do.

Despite facing a life threatening disease, Briana maintained a positive attitude and took pride in playing pranks on the nurses and Child Life specialists at Nicklaus Children's Hospital. She loved mismatching her socks and having sleepovers with friends. Briana also enjoyed inspiring other children facing cancer and got the chance to sing alongside Grammy award-winning artist and International Pediatric Hall of Fame 2012 Inductee Gloria Gaynor in the I Will Survive Bald, Brave Beautiful® music video. The video, which aims to raise funds to help find a cure and provide hope to children facing cancer, debuted at the 2012 Diamond Ball: A Frosted Masquerade Affair. Briana made a special appearance at the event to speak with nearly 700 guests about how their donations support Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

Those who had the honor to meet Briana will surely cherish the memories they have of her, and those who have been touched by her story will always remember her as an inspiration to live, laugh, enjoy, love and have a passion for life itself.

Briana = Bald, Brave, Beautiful® 

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