CHULA VISTA, Calif. – Camille Rodriguez is a typical 4-year-old. She likes mac and cheese, “Beauty and the Beast” and the color yellow. She also really likes fireworks and this July Fourth’s Big Bay Boom will be a special one for her.
“Other than the lack of hair you’d never know she was sick,” said her mom Vanessa.
Almost a year ago, Camille was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a type of bone cancer.
“In pediatric cancer, it’s less than two percent of kids that actually have her type of cancer,” Vanessa said. “It’s very rare but very treatable.”
Camille first complained about pain on her side at night. Although everyone thought it was growing pains, it turned out to be anything but.
“Her tumor started out at the size of a grapefruit … inside of her ribcage,” Vanessa said. “I’ve done my best to explain it to a 3 and 4-year-old as best as I can. She knew that there was something growing inside her that wasn’t supposed to be there.”
Doctors started treatment right away.
“Some days her chemo treatments can be five days long … sometimes chemo can be really rough,” Vanessa said.
To comfort Camille, special friends visit.
“When the therapy dogs come in, it’s such an uplifting moment we have,” Vanessa said. “You definitely forget about chemo and cancer for a little bit and her whole face lights up when these dogs come in. They’re so calm and you get to pet them and it’s just such a therapeutic thing to have.”
And there’s one dog who’s extra special to Camille.
“Oh Zeus definitely, he’s so great, he’s so calm and he’s so patient,” Vanessa said.
Vanessa said those moments of happiness mean a lot to her and her daughter.
“He licks me on my cheek,” Camille said. “He gives me big doggie kisses.”
Camille has about a month left of chemo. In the meantime, she has this to say to her buddy: “Thank you, Zeus, for making me feel better when I’m at the hospital.”
Camille and Zeus are scheduled to reunite live during FOX 5’s Big Bay Boom coverage, which starts at 8 p.m. Wednesday.