12-Year-Old Battling Brain Cancer Moved to Tears As Community Throws Her a B’day Surprise

April 6, 2019 Updated: April 9, 2019

Things are bad enough when one gets seriously sick, but to have no one by one’s side as support can be the worse feeling ever. For a California girl battling cancer, it may have seemed lonely for her and her family at first, but once her community caught wind of the girl’s situation and extended their loving warmth, it sure meant the world to them.

Sarah Donegan, of Santa Clarita, was diagnosed with brain cancer after she was admitted to a hospital for a series of seizures in January 2018. To remove the cancer, doctors arranged 33 rounds of radiation treatments and six weeks of daily chemotherapy for her.

Posted by Sarah Smiles on Friday, October 5, 2018

However, the 12-year-old could only go through four weeks of the treatment before she had to “receive numerous platelet transfusions, blood transfusions along with two hospital stays to boost her immune system,” her mom, Kathleen, wrote on GoFundMe.

Posted by Sarah Smiles on Thursday, October 18, 2018

The treatment resumed in July after doctors gave her a five-week break.

Treatment wasn’t easy for the family, but they managed to get by thanks to the support from those around them.

MRI update: Thanksgiving has brought on a whole new meaning!! We are so THANKFUL for a good MRI report. Sarahs…

Posted by Sarah Smiles on Tuesday, November 20, 2018

“Sometimes when we go down to the infusion center for chemo we kind of feel alone. It’s just her and I driving down there,” Kathleen told KTLA.

“But to see that everyone is around us and loves us no matter where we are—it’s pretty comforting and amazing.”

We were so blessed to have a team of radiology nurses who adored Sarah and greeted her each day with a smile and words of encouragement.

Posted by Kathleen Donegan on Friday, May 25, 2018

Wanting to let Sarah know that she is not alone in this year-long journey of treatment, the family’s friends and neighbors gave her a surprise birthday party.

Their heartfelt support reduced Sarah to tears.

“It has just been so special today,” Sarah told The Signal. “It’s just been amazing that I have been able to get through all this.”

Posted by Kathleen Donegan on Sunday, May 13, 2018

Kathy O’Connor, a family friend who planned the surprise, said that they just wanted to cheer her up.

“All of us that you see here have been touched by her life,” she said. “We want to support her and encourage her through her battle with cancer.”

We are beyond blessed to have such an amazing community that cares so much! You all have a special place in our hearts…

Posted by Kathleen Donegan on Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Due to the support she received, she decided to write a book detailing her story for other children with cancer.

“It’s about everything that I am going through and how God gave me the power to do it,” she said.

Posted by Kathleen Donegan on Friday, May 25, 2018

“It’s been really hard,” Sarah added.“We have had a lot of people that have come and help us along the way.

“I would never be able to get through it, because without everybody’s prayers and everything they’ve done for us, it would be so hard to do this alone.”

Posted by Kathleen Donegan on Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Watch the video below:

Birthday Surprise for Sarah!

KTLA's Christina Pascucci shares the emotional birthday surprise for Sarah Donegan. She's just 11 years-old and stage 4 brain cancer. Behind the tears and smiles of joy on this day, she has a powerful message for people in her situation and their families. To support Sarah go to https://www.gofundme.com/j3bzyp-sarahsmiles. Please share. #SarahSmiles

Posted by Marcus Wilson-Smith on Friday, October 12, 2018