The Children's Cancer Association (CCA) announced recently that Aubryana Ramirez of Woodburn was one of 12 Portland-area recipients of the Hero Award.
CCA's Hero Award winners gathered at OMSI on Tuesday, May 28, for a medal ceremony and dove release, part of an event dubbed Celebration of Courage.
Aubry, 10, complained of lower back pain in May of 2018, and a short time later began her battle after being diagnosed with stage 3 non-Hodgkin's B cell lymphoma.
As Aubry trooped forward, she rallied a network of family and friends who collectively supported her while donning the designation "Aubry Strong." Aubry's aunt Kathleen shaved her head to demonstrate her support, as did her grandpa "Abuelo Nacho" and uncle Jose.
The Lincoln Elementary School 5th grader endured her treatments and faced the illness head on. CCA spokeswoman Whitney Wilhardt noted that "through months of treatment, Aubry remained strong, never shedding a tear, making the very best of the situation. She's proud to tell you she's the official 'Slime Queen' of the hospital and has become good friends with her nurses."
Aubry's mother, Amy Ramirez, described her daughter as "a very stubborn, stubborn, stubborn girl." Amy credits that stubbornness with helping Aubry endure the rigorous and painful treatments for Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system.
Aubry had to forego many of her favorite activities over the past year, including riding her bicycle, playing basketball and swimming. But during her treatments she reportedly discovered a love for music, and she found a new friend and chemo mentor, Jaylynn. Wilhardt said a highlight of their friendship was attending a Portland Trail Blazer game where they were named "Honorary Captains" of the game, and they got to meet Blazer star Damian Lillard on the court.
CCA sources also credit Aubry's stubbornness, believing it gave her strength throughout her treatment -- her cancer is now in remission.
"She's looking forward to practicing with her basketball team again and visiting the Alexandra Ellis Caring Cabin this July – exactly one year since she was diagnosed with cancer," Wilhardt noted. "This year, instead of undergoing tests at the hospital, she'll be enjoying a special retreat in nature surrounded by her extended family."