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Rockdale community rallies behind local 10-year-old battling brain cancer

Posted at 9:02 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 22:02:23-05

ROCKDALE, TX — The city of Rockdale is coming together to support one of their own and her family.

Terri Sandoval received devastating news roughly a week ago. Her 10-year-old daughter, Alex, was diagnosed with a form of brain cancer known as glioma and must now fight for her life.

The doctors told the Sandoval family Alex has defied all odds, saying she's the unicorn they've never seen.

”Her whole body should be weakening and it’s not, she’s fighting," said Terri. "That’s what she does. That’s her personality. That’s who she is,”

Alex is in 5th grade at Rockdale Intermediate School. Once everyone got word she was fighting brain cancer, they sprung into action, bringing some color to the situation by holding a tie dye day at school.

”Many people that have gone through this understand you don’t always want to ask for help," said Kathy Pelzel, principal for Rockdale Intermediate School. "The one thing she [Terri Sandoval] said at the time we can do was if we wanted to wear tie dye just to brighten the day,”

Bringing the colors of the rainbow together in a funky fun way describes Alex’s personality perfectly. She is different and a fighter, her mom says.

”I smile when you ask me about Alex as a student," said Pelzel. "She’s got a great personality. She is a friend to everyone. She will make you laugh.”

Fourth grade teacher Christina Jimenez was so moved that she began a GoFundMe in support of Alex's fight. As of publication, the fundraiser has collected almost $14,000, far surpassing the $1,000 goal.

”She [Jimenez] reached out to me, and the next thing I know is she started a GofundMe page for Alex," said Terri. "She just told Alex's story and it grew.”

Alex is currently receiving treatment at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. Terri says the whole family can feel the love and energy the Rockdale community is sending.

“You don’t just see students here. We’re family,” said Pelzel. “One of our community members from Cameron, a teacher, Kirk Wagner, reached out, and he took care of getting this sign so that everyone who came by would know that Rockdale Intermediate School was Alex strong,”

Alex’s spirit has not only touched her teachers and classmates, but the entire community. Rockdale has rallied behind the Sandoval family, from businesses donating percentages of their sales to others designing tie die shirts to sell, with all proceeds going to the family.