Honored Patients

Our Inspiration

Celia Hood Photo

Celia Hood

San Francisco Honored Hero

Celia is a spunky, caring, and crafty five-year-old. She also has B-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma. This disease does not define her, but has made her even more self-confident, courageous, and concerned for the well being of others.

She was diagnosed after a bump on her head didn't seem to heal properly, was removed, and biopsied. She is being treated at Children's Hospital of Oakland by a fantastic team, and is now in long term maintenance phase for 18 months.

Celia has a two year-old brother, William, and a boxer dog named Hannah. She loves butterflies, flowers, visits from her grandparents, and making her mom and dad crack up with laughter!



Jordyn Hernandez

East Bay Honored Hero

Jordyn is a sweet, caring, spunky, and strong girl with a positive attitude. In September, 2013, seven-year-old Jordyn was diagnosed with T-Cell lymphoblastic lymphoma; a diagnosis no parent ever expects or wants to receive.

The brave Jordyn turned her fight with leukemia into a video game. Cancer became "The Blob" and chemotherapy became her "power-ups," giving her strength to fight her enemy.

Today, Jordyn is still fighting strong, and will be in treatment for the next two years, but hopes to go back to school soon. She is looking forward to a summer filled with swimming, riding bikes, and playing with her friends



Monika Romo

Napa Valley Honored Hero

On April 4th, 2013, nine-year-old Monika Romo was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic lymphoma (ALL).

Now 10 years old, and in the fifth grade, Monika feels fortunate to have only missed three weeks of school after her diagnosis. She continues to be able to attend school during her treatment; only missing days when she visits the hospital or clinic for chemotherapy. Now in maintenance phase, Monika will complete her treatment on July 23, 2015.

There have been bumps in the road of treatment, but Monika has been blessed with the love and support from her parents, family, teachers, friends, and the community of Vallejo.



Benji Silver

North Bay Honored Hero

Benji Silver was diagnosed with leukemia when he was just 3 months old, and at the time was given only a 30% chance to survive. Treatment included chemotherapy, total body radiation, early experimental target therapies, and a bone marrow transplant.

Enduring it all has made Benji the strong person he is today. Benji is a 7th grade student whose hobbies include: fencing, hiking, biking, and video games - especially Minecraft. His favorite classes are Science and Math, but he also enjoys English and History. Future plans include planning to travel, go to college, get a job that involves science, and becoming a good fencer!

Benji is very grateful to his friends at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, who have helped him, and thousands like him, fight blood cancer.



Tanvi Varma

Peninsula Honored Hero

Tanvi was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia in December 2012. She was not feeling well, and the doctors told her it was a virus. Her father asked that a blood test be completed on December 12, 2012. The results came back within 24 hours, and Tanvi was admitted to Lucile Packard Hospital at Stanford. A bone marrow aspiration confirmed the diagnosis, and she then began her battle with chemotherapy.

Tanvi had to miss six months of high school because of the aggressive treatment plan. To mark the completion of each blood draw, chemotherapy, lumbar puncture, or hospitalization, Tanvi collected "beads of courage." The beads now hang on her door, reminding her of the progress she has made.

Tanvi is now in maintenance phase of her treatment. She is a Junior in high school, and learning how to drive a car!



Dave Harless

Peninsula Memorial Honoree

Dave participated in Team In Training Ironman in August 2011 in memory of his father who died of melanoma. In September 2012, Dave was diagnosed with leukemia and lost his battle in November, 2013. One of his last outings was attending the Light The Night Walk in San Jose.

Dave was a great father to his son, Anthony, and his baby boy, Christian, and a wonderful husband to Tina. He was a friend to many, and an inspiration to all. He had passions and hobbies that ranged from the outdoors, to cooking, to sports. Devoted husband, father and friend. Dave loved life, and lived it to the fullest.



Mimi Zuniga

San Jose Honored Hero

Mimi was diagnosed with leukemia when she was just 3 years old. She is now a long term survivor who has been without treatment for 4 years! Her last visit with an oncologist will be this summer at Kaiser Santa Clara. Mimi will turn 21 this June.

Mimi loves having adventures and going places she has never been before. She enjoys many sports, hanging out with friends, and playing with her puppy. This will be her 15th year to participate in the Light The Night Walk!

What Mimi enjoys most is making others laugh. She believes that something as simple as a smile can brighten a person's day.










Rose Rockwood

San Jose Memorial Honoree

Rose was born in Oakland, CA on March 24, 1951. She fondly remembered living in San Francisco when she was young and also later in East Palo Alto, where she spent most of her childhood. Rose attended Ravenswood High School in East Palo Alto, and then enrolled in the College of San Mateo. Years later, when her daughters were college-bound, Rose returned to school. She studied locally at De Anza College, and then earned a bachelor degree in Environmental Science from UC Berkeley in 1996.  Rose was proud of her academic accomplishments. With a professor-led student research team, she traveled to Costa Rica. She and the team hiked into the rainforest daily to document and collect specimens of flora, and document species of fauna that had not been previously scientifically identified.

Most recently, she served on the board of the California Native Plant Society, Santa Clara Valley Chapter, doing publicity for events. Rose was very creative and artistic, and loved origami and arts and crafts projects. Also a very good cook, she enjoyed trying new recipes and collected cookbooks. Rose enjoyed dancing and music, was an avid San Francisco Giants, San Francisco 49ers, San Jose Sharks and CAL Bears fan, and enjoyed most spending time with her family and friends, and her sweet cats. Most of all, Rose treasured every moment, in person, and on ?FaceTime,? with her beloved grandbabies, daughters and son-in-laws.


Rose was grateful to her medical team, who worked hand-in-hand with her to provide the best care possible. Under the guidance and expertise of her team, Rose had elected to participate in a cancer drug trial at Stanford Hospital & Clinics. An interview she gave to share her experiences in the cancer clinical trials can be viewed at http://cancer.stanford.edu/trials/patient_stories/.


She was courageous and strong willed until her final days. Everyone who had an opportunity to meet her would never forget her wit, intelligence, grace, and uncanny humor. She will be deeply missed by all. 

Heath Dwenger

San Francisco Memorial Honoree

The Recipe For A Great Time with A Great Person . . . Heath Dwenger:


Step 1: Bring a bunch of people together

Step 2: Add Heath to the crowd.

Step 3: Meet and make great new friends, and create lifelong memories that make you smile... and, at times, laugh to yourself at those distant, but not forgotten jokes that made so many laugh and cheer in salute.


Hopefully, you too have had the privilege of knowing such a person that immediately put you at ease to be yourself, when you went out on the town with them, you just knew fun times were ahead because of that friend's wicked sense of humor. He made people comfortable and happy to be themselves. I'm just a little more lucky because that was my brother. Good memories.

All during his treatments, Heath was drawing strength from the hope of return to his normal life. He loved traveling all over to catch up with friends, both personal and professional. Heath was so very fortunate to have been surrounded by such caring, fun-loving, and admirable people who enriched his life and vice versa. His spirit is still impacting other people?s lives today.

Heath donated his body to science and wished nothing more than for his friends and family to remember him with a quick drink salute in his memory, which goes to show even in the face of something so dark, he was thinking about others first. That's the bar he set.

Just try to live up to it, we dare you!



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