She loves singing, dancing, coloring, painting her nails and all the fun things 11-year-old girls do, but right now, life isn't so fun for Serina Robles.
The incoming Fernan STEM Academy fifth-grader is in the Seattle Children's Hospital today, preparing for a bone-marrow transplant.
"She’s one of the brightest kids you'll ever meet in your life," her dad, Ray Robles, said Monday afternoon. "She has such a great heart, smiling through the toughest times."
Serina was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 5. She underwent a bone-marrow transplant, chemotherapy and radiation, which ultimately led to her remission. When she recently started to experience headaches, bloody noses and was just feeling crummy, she went to the doctor and learned she only had 2% of her bone marrow. She was matched with a donor, and she and her family had to drop everything to travel to Seattle to help her beat the potentially fatal condition again.
"She's like, 'Daddy, we'll get through this,' but she's very scared," Ray said. "I said, 'I'm scared too, but Mommy and I are going to be right there with you. You did it once, I know you can do it again.'"
Serina colored her hair orange to match the color of her cancer ribbon. She'll be going through a lot of testing and another round of chemotherapy, then a long recovery. Ray has no idea how much it's going to cost, but it's expected to be a lot because the family doesn't have health insurance.
"It’s a living nightmare, and I just can’t believe that we’re going through this again," he said. "I just want her to have a normal life like every other child should."
The Sweets and Treats for Serina drive-up lemonade and sweets stand will be open Friday from noon to 6 p.m. at 520 N. 21st St. in Coeur d'Alene to raise funds for Serina's medical costs.
The family has also started a GoFundMe page. They'll be staying in Seattle for at least three months as Serina recovers.