Pediatric Hero for Loyola's 5K 2016 | News | Loyola Medicine
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Pediatric Patient Fighting Rare Brain Tumor Named “Hero” of Loyola Health, Hope and Heroes 5K Run/Walk

MAYWOOD, IL – Rosalina Resendez thought she was taking her 5-year-old daughter Mariana Sauceda for an exam to diagnose a possible lazy eye. Instead, doctors found every parent’s worst nightmare for their child – cancer.
Mariana had a brain tumor that wrapped around major blood vessels in her brain.
“I didn’t know what to do. I felt lost at that moment,” Mrs. Resendez said. “The nurses were so tentative with me. They were calming me down and saying ‘It’s not your fault, mom. We’re here to help you and take care of Mariana.’ And they did.”
As Mariana, of Stickney, continues her fight, she will serve as an honorary “hero” for Loyola’s 5th Annual Health, Hope & Heroes 5K Run/Walk on Sunday, June 5.
The 5K starts at 9 am on the campus of Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), located at 2160 S. First Ave., Maywood, Illinois. Race proceeds will support Loyola’s pediatric healthcare programs.
Watch Mariana’s story.

In 2013, Mariana’s family noticed some changes in her vision and took her to the pediatrician. Upon seeing the test results, Mariana was sent to the emergency department at Loyola University Medical Center, where she underwent additional imaging.
At Loyola, Mariana was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer, an atypical teratoid rhabdoid (AT/RT) tumor. AT/RT tumors are fast-growing tumors of the brain and spinal cord that usually occur in children age 3 or younger, but also can occur in older children and adults.
“Hers was in a most difficult location, so it was a difficult operation from that standpoint,” said neurosurgeon Douglas Anderson, MD. “We were very cautious about how we could get around each of the vessels and still debulk the tumor adequately.”
Following surgery, Mariana began nearly a year of chemotherapy and radiation.  She was admitted every three weeks to receive chemotherapy by IV and through a spinal tap. After the third month, the effects of the treatment began to take its toll on Mariana, who was unable to walk and needed help getting out of bed.
“We didn’t see the side effects right away,” Mrs. Resendez said. “After the third month, she started getting weak. But she was so brave. She was so positive. She’d speak about the future.”
Despite the effects the chemotherapy and radiation were having on her body, Mariana maintained her positive personality.
“She is one the best patients I’ve ever had,” said Mason Boutros, RN. “Regardless of whether she’s feeling nauseous or uncomfortable, she doesn’t let it get her down. Whenever I was her nurse, it made for a good day.”
While she has finished chemotherapy and radiation, Mariana continues to undergo maintenance MRIs as doctors monitor her condition. She has regained a sense of normalcy, returned to school and loves to dance and sing in her bedroom decorated with Frozen characters.
“She’s demonstrated that kind of spirit that we see in people who get up, move on and keep fighting,” Dr. Anderson said. “Children are frequently amazing in that way. They bring comfort to their own doctors and their parents when they are going through this.”

Mariana’s mother said Mariana is her hero because she’s so brave.   

“She’s so positive and she gave me the strength to keep on fighting with her.”
The Health, Hope & Heroes 5K Run/Walk will be followed by a Children’s Hero Hustle, a 50-yard dash available for children ages 10 and younger. Area sports mascots and characters will be on hand to entertain kids as they race. Kids’ activities also will be held at the finish line area from 8-11:30 am.
All participants receive a commemorative t-shirt. Entertainment and refreshments will be provided following the race.
All are invited to join the 5K to help children like Mariana. For more information about Loyola’s Health, Hope & Heroes 5K Run/Walk, or to register or make a donation, visit

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.