San Antonio family, area nonprofit try to make difference in community for those dealing with cancer

SAN ANTONIO – May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month and the non-profit Gabriella’s Smile Foundation, along with a family who have made a great cause of their tragedy, are both focused on helping families in and around San Antonio.

“It’s a very difficult journey, but we just look forward to making a difference in the lives of other families,” said Isabel Torres.

The Gabriella’s Smile Foundation was founded on March 30, 2016 in honor of Cecilio and Isabel’s six-year-old daughter Gabriella, who has passed away.

The first day they told us she looks like she has a brain stem tumor. And the next day they told us that she did indeed have this cancer called DIPG. And they told us she probably wouldn’t survive the year. And they gave us a very grim terminal prognosis that she will probably live for about 8 to 12 months, ”said Cecilio Torres.

No parent ever intends to hear the words “your child has incurable brain cancer.”


She fought that terminal brain cancer for nearly eight months. The tumor is commonly referred to as DIPG. And it represents a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. It’s just a fancy word for a brain stem glioma, or a very bad brain stem glioma tumor, ”said Cecilio Torres.

Gabriella finally died on November 7, 2015.

“I think one of the main takeaways we did on Gabriella’s trip was how important the community was,” said Cecilio Torres.

Now the Torres family and Gabriella’s Smile Foundation both want to make a difference.

“We provide financial assistance to families, so that’s one of the great things we do,” said Isabel Torres. “To date, we have helped more than 86 families with more than $ 58,000 in that program alone.”

But it’s not all financial aid, as Gabriella’s Smile Foundation also has Operation Back to School, where it serves more than 1,080 children with backpacks by delivering them to oncology clinics in local children’s hospitals.


“It just really has to be a champion for kids fighting cancer in San Antonio,” said Cecilio Torres.

To raise money for local families fighting childhood cancer and to raise money for research, there is a special event called “Gabriella’s 5k Cupcake Run” this Saturday.

You can register for the event by clicking here.

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