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Central Valley child cancer patients receive Easter surprise

By Liv Johnson - yourcentralvalley.com, 04/06/21, 1:45PM EDT

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FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — Giovanni Padilla, who goes by Gio, looks like any other five-year-old boy. He loves soccer, baseball, and playing with his younger sister. However, Gio has been through more than any five-year-old should, he’s been battling brain cancer since he was just 14 months old.

“He was not given a survival rate because he was diagnosed so young. It was very hard to go through,” said his mother, Haley Padilla.

On Saturday, Gio received a special visit from the Fresno FC mascot, Fuego the Fox, and the president of the team, Chris Wilson. They’ve been delivering Easter baskets and Fuego FC gear to child cancer patients in the Valley. It’s an effort organized by Andrea Andrade, a 26-year-old Fresno resident who is currently battling colon cancer for the second time.

“I’ve been battling this for about four years now. I’ve been going through chemotherapy since October, and I’m doing another 12 rounds,” Andrade said.

Andrade says it’s kids like Gio – who has now gone three years without showing signs of cancer – that motivate her to keep fighting and inspire her to give back.

“Seeing them going through the exact same thing at three years old, at six years old…It’s a huge motivation. It’s like a blessing to be able to know these types of people,” she said.

Gio has to go two more years without signs of cancer before doctors will declare he’s in remission. While Andrea prepares for 12 more rounds of chemotherapy, she feels confident she will win the battle once again.

“I know that I’m going to keep fighting and keep going and finish it off like I did the first time,” she said.

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