15-Year-Old Inspires Dozens to Donate Blood and Sign Up for Bone Marrow Registry

Zoe Inciong is determined to beat a rare bone cancer

For most cancer patients, the disease is a death sentence. But Zoe Inciong, a 15-year-old James Logan High School student, is determined to beat it. 

Last summer, Zoe was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer. Maria Rabuy Inciong, Zoe’s mother, said Zoe was experiencing extreme muscle pain and sleeplessness before she got checked out by the doctors.

Maria thought it was a sports injury. The family was shocked to learn about the disease.

Maria herself is a breast cancer survivor. 

“Her dad, Randy, was devastated,” Maria said.  “It's his fourth time dealing with cancer. His mom and dad died of cancer. I’ve been a breast cancer survivor for over two years now. And now his daughter has cancer."

Despite not been able to play water polo and other sports like she used to, Zoe has shown no signs of giving up. 

"I thought I was gonna cry, but I didn't," Zoe told Patch. "I kind of went to this state where I just accepted it. I just thought, 'Okay, this is what I have to deal with, let’s just get through it.'"

As Zoe battles with cancer, her family, friends and the community have come together to raise awareness about the disease.

A blood and bone marrow registry drive with Zoe Inciong as the drive’s namesake, was held on Nov. 19 at in Union City.

Diana Agtane, Zoe’s cousin, was the main organizer of the event. She said she has been a blood donor in the past and her cousin’s condition inspired her to organize the event.

“There’s no money involved in donating,” Agtane said. "I just wanted to help her in her mission to bring awareness and intent to get more blood and bone marrow donors."

Agtane said that there were 44 people who made appointments to donate blood and 16 walk-ins from all over the Tri-City area. 

So Things Don’t Suck

“So Things Don’t Suck” is an emergency fund created by Zoe’s mom. She said the name was created because she was asked to gauge her pain on a scale from 1 – 10, but Zoe said she did not like talking about the pain, so her mom called it a “suck meter.” Instead of asking her how much pain she was feeling, her mom asked her to rate how much “things suck.”

The American Cancer Society lists various reasons why cancer patients need blood transfusions. According to the ACS website, bone cancer can spread to other organs and cause low blood counts.

Zoe is lucky enough to have her bone marrow preserved at UCSF and has ben able to obtain blood when she needs transfusions without much worry, but she knows others like her are not so lucky.

“I’ve had moments when I have to go for transfusions and I feel bad for myself, but I try not to,” Zoe said.  “I feel like when you have a condition like this, feeling sorry is a waste of time. I would rather make sure that every moment is worth it."

Maria keeps a blog called “Zoe Means Life.”  Zoe’s supporters can follow updates on her conditions and information on the family’s upcoming activities.

The Rabuy and Inciong families said they have much to celebrate this Thanksgiving. 

“I’m thankful for my family and friends,” Zoe said. “It’s crazy how amazing the community has been, especially getting support from people I don’t even know.  They’ve sent me money, well wishes — and it has just been completely overwhelming."

"I’m thankful for being here and just for everyone that has touched me over the past few weeks,” she added.

Donations to Zoe's "So Things Don't Suck" can be sent to: 
Zoe Inciong
, "So Things Don't Suck," 
30530 Del Valle Place
, Union City, CA 94587

Follow Zoe's blog at http://www.carepages.com/carepages/Zoe-me.

Bruce Shriver November 29, 2011 at 08:55 AM
You can learn about the rare cancer that Zoe has in the article, "Ewing's Sarcoma Family of Tumors (ESFT)," by Drs. Randall, Calvert, Spraker, and Lessnick. It can be accessed at http://bit.ly/l9x2gQ - Bruce
Ryan Macasero December 01, 2011 at 06:04 AM
Thank you for the information, Bruce!


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