Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Oh it could be like a soap holder. Well, I grew up at the hospital. So I was very curious like when the nurse was like taking my blood and I was like why are you taking my blood? What test are you doing? What are you looking for? How does it work? How does the test work? I thought that was really cool. So then I started asking questions and that’s kind of how my interest started. My name is Gabby Salinas, well, Gabriela Salinas. I currently work at the hospital on the malaria project and our efforts are towards discovering new treatments. Malaria is the number one, single killer in the world of pediatrics. Ah yeah she was showing me her schedule. And all these classes are like all these hard classes, and then she had to go to work, and then lab. The day she ate breakfast she didn’t eat lunch. The day she ate lunch she didn’t eat breakfast. This is a crazy woman. I’m originally from Bolivia and I have a twin brother and we were always getting into trouble. They were terrible. Terrible. She dared me to jump out of the roof. I, you know, I got stitches. I got kicked out of kindergarten. I think Gabriela, she gives the orders and Alejandro do the work. When I was seven, we were always getting scrapes and you know, cuts and just bumps and bruises. My dad was an air force so we were riding our bikes on the plane’s lane. It was riding on skates and we had a rope tied from the bike and he was pulling me. My dad had told us not to do that, of course we had to do it, and she fell and she cut her knee up. This fall felt different and I started having pain in my leg and it got progressively worse. My mobility got worse. I lost my ability to walk. In Bolivia, we don’t know exactly what she had. Like a mother, I’m feeling that it’s something serious. My dad flies up to New York with my sister cuz my aunt lived there. And in New York they diagnosed me with Ewing’s Sarcoma. It’s a bone cancer in her back. And they said without treatment that I’d only had few weeks to live and we needed 250,000 dollars for the treatment. At that moment, my mom said that she had never felt so hopeless in her life. She’s like, “I can’t believe my child is going to die, not because a treatment doesn’t exist, but because I can’t afford the treatment.” My dad calls his sister and tells her, you know, what’s going on. She was at work. A reporter from the New York Daily News was there and asked her why she was upset, and he wrote up the story as to what was happening. The next day, that story was front page, and Marlo Thomas who’s the daughter of Danny Thomas, found at the hospital at St. Jude, contacted us and said, “I have a place that you can go to and you will not receive a single bill.” So from Bolivia to New York, to Memphis, Tennessee. Here we go! How does this work? Monopoly. – It’s gonna fall. They are such a strong family. They are a role model for how you confront adversity. I’ve known Gabby about 18 years now. Gone through another diagnosis of cancer, been with her family through some other trauma and accident that the family had. I was only 8 when the accident happened. We went to New York to get out of the hospital, cuz you know, that year, we’re like living at the hospital. And then, on the way back we got into a car accident. Our car flipped. We went from one side of the inner state to the other side of the inner state. And my dad and my sister were killed in the accident and my mom was paralyzed. And being a kid and thinking, my worst nightmare just came true. It was, it was very difficult for her. And I was pregnant with Danny. My name is Danny Thomas Omar Salinas. I know the story pretty well, but yeah. Cancer girl tried to revive her dad. The Bolivian girl whose battle with cancer captured New York’s heart last year. Ignoring her shattered right hand, family members said, Gabriela Salinas managed to climb out of the wreckage of her family’s car and crawl to her dad. Her cries of “daddy, daddy” were met only by a comforting smile that slowly spread across her father’s face, a solid goodbye from the man who loved her more than life itself. I definitely get my discipline from him. We did so much physical therapy cuz I wanted to walk so bad. He’s like, “you’re gonna walk again.” I was like, okay. And there’s times when I was like, I don’t want to do the physical therapy but he would push me and that’s what I needed at that moment. That same mindset that has been with me all the way through. It’s my way of carrying his memory. Why do you have a brace? The tumor that I had in my back did a lot of damage to my left leg, so I have to wear it to walk better. But I don’t wear it when I wear cute shoes though. Cuz it doesn’t fit into cute shoes. Girls suffer a lot for cute shoes. Some people, they have normal lives. But I think that, it’s the same what the doctors tell Gabriela one time. When she had the second cancer. he said, “Gabriela, I cannot explain why persons, they don’t have cancer in his whole life, and you have two in 15 years.” When she had the second cancer, we think that it would be easy, but I was not. Because she needed to be alone, because it’s a radioactive iodine, and that’s more hard than to lose hair. It’s more hard than everything, not to be with her. I have to say, okay, I’ve had two types of radiation. I’ve had surgery and I’ve had chemo. I guarantee I threw up more than all y’all combined. I can tell you that. That makes you win again. Winning, you’re winning. And I lost my hair. Where do you get your inspiration? My inspiration is my mom. She doesn’t let anything get her down and just keep pushing through everything. Sounds a lot like you too though. Really? It’s like a lot of qualities of why I admire you and look up to you, they are the same things you were describing about your mom. Well, I think you are very sweet. I have never given Gabby something to do that she didn’t get done. It didn’t matter to her what needed happen, how hard she had to work, what she had learned. There are not a whole lot of people in the world who push that hard on everything they do. I just really love what I do. I know that what I do makes a difference further down the road. I think that’s one of the reasons why I’m so passionate about it. And I know that the sciences in Jude is moving faster than anywhere else, and I kind of want to be involved in that. Nothing gets in Gabby’s way. If there’s any barrier, she goes around it, over it, whatever she needs to do. She is one determined young woman. Cancer didn’t stop her. It tried, you know. It got close, you know. It got her, you know, not walking. In the midst of tragedy, there is always hope, and you should never give up. My sister, she always seems to think that, this is nothing. I’m going to get through it. I look up to her as my hero. I mean, like if I had someone I wanted to be like, it’d be Gabby. My mom said, don’t let anything or anyone take away your happiness. There’s two things that you can do, crying or laughing. We choose laughing. I think I’m like a well-built house. I’m strong but being strong doesn’t make any storm weak. Going through cancer I was still upset, still went through the chemo, didn’t feel like doing it sometimes. But I knew that I was going to get through it and that I was going to be fine.