Daytona Beach community supports young girl fighting cancer (includes video story)

Lilyana Aparicio, at just 5-years-old, has fought more than many adults have in their whole lives. This weekend, her community near Daytona Beach joined her in the fight against cancer.  

“I’m really happy that everyone is here for me that I went through,” said Lilyana Aparicio. 

When she was four years old, she was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia that only affects 2 percent of children. It was identified after her parents noticed a fever that would not go away. 

“We went to the hospital just anticipating them saying it’s a cold, here’s some medication or an antibiotic, and then send us on our way,” said Chrissie Aparicio, Lilyana’s mother.

Since then, she has been going back and forth to Jacksonville for treatment. Some trips last only one day, while others last weeks at a time.

“She caught a cold and was on the tail end of a treatment, so her immune system was extremely low, so we put her in the hospital for a month,” said George Aparicio, Lilyana’s father. “The trips and extensive treatments are costly, and that’s why the All Riders Motorcycle Club and American Legion Post 259 hosted a poker chip ride and raffles to help raise money for Lilyana. Every rider got a poker chip at each stop along the route and at the end, they found out its value and who the winners were.”

The fundraiser has raised over $1600 between the ride, donations, and winners of the cash-prize raffles who donated money back to the Aparicio family, bringing the Deland community even closer.  

“It tugs at your heartstrings to think that a little girl her age – I think she’s about four or five right now – is dealing with things that an older person would deal with,” said Chuck Boehn, Vice President of All Riders IMC. “She’s amazing. She’s amazing. It brings tears to my eyes.”

Yam Hunter Preisler is a senior at Florida International University majoring in broadcast journalism. He is passionate about reporting on medical advancements. Yam is currently working as a freelance video editor.