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November 15, 2011 > Zoe provides inspiration for blood drive

Zoe provides inspiration for blood drive

By Michelle Motoyoshi

What happens when Tri-City residents come together for a good cause? They give a young girl hope.

On Saturday, November 19, at St. Anne's Church in Union City, Tri-City, residents can donate blood at a blood drive in honor of Logan High School student, Zoe Inciong. This past September, Zoe was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer known as Ewing's Sarcoma. She has been undergoing intensive chemotherapy at the Kaiser Pediatric Oncology Center in Oakland. In mid-December, Zoe will begin radiation treatment with Dr. Trang La (a Logan High School alumnus, class of 1996).

Not surprisingly, Zoe's treatments have been costly, leaving little money for Zoe to do the things that a normal 15 year-old gets to indulge in, things that help lighten her load "so things don't suck." Friends and family have established an account for Zoe so that she has money to do these things. They've named the account according to its precise purpose: "So Things Don't Suck."

To help raise money for the fund, local Zumba instructor Mimi Quiroz organized
Zumba for Zoe, an evening of high-energy Zumba that was held at Logan High School October 21. The event raised over $5,000 for Zoe and her "So Things Don't Suck" fund. The turnout overwhelmed the Inciongs, Zoe in particular. In fact, despite her doctor's advice that she stay home due to her low white blood cell count, Zoe decided to make a brief appearance at the fundraiser to thank everyone in person.

"My parents must have sensed just how much I really wanted to, because they decided to sneak me out with the condition that I wear a mask," Zoe wrote in her blog. "I happily and quickly agreed. I'm so glad and feel satisfied that I got to see Ms. Mimi Quiroz (who threw this all together), all the other Zumba instructors, my Uncle John Francisco (who DJed), and everyone else who contributed to the night and thank them all IN PERSON... All in all, it was definitely worth the risk."

The outpouring of support for Zoe has extended beyond the Zumba fundraiser. Previously a member of the JV water polo team at Logan High, Zoe attends games whenever she feels up to it. At a recent varsity match between Logan and Mission San Jose, the Logan team members yelled "For Zoe!" at every timeout. Logan ended up trouncing MSJ. "At one point, I almost wanted to apologize to Mission's coach for bringing Zoe," said Ria Inciong, Zoe's mom. "(Logan High) played extremely well; they were focused, determined, and, some might even say, inspired." Ria added, "Randy (Zoe's dad) and I got a bit choked up each time we heard the team yell 'For Zoe!'"

Though Zoe has received immeasurable support from the Tri-City community, the giving has not been a one-way street. Zoe's attitude and determination have inspired many, even those she has not personally met. But perhaps no one has been more inspired by Zoe than her own mother. "How is it that at 15, she's already processed through her situation and accepted that she's where she's supposed to be? While Randy and I are still going through anger, denial, sadness, and even bargaining," says Ria, "Zoe's jumped ahead of us to acceptance. I think that we need to follow her lead."

But Zoe is not content only to inspire others; she is also determined to give back in more concrete ways. The blood drive is just one way Zoe would like to give back to the community that has given her and her family so much support. The blood drive will be held on Saturday, November 19, 2 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. at St. Anne's Church, 32223 Cabello Street in Union City.

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

You can find Zoe's blog at http://www.carepages.com/carepages/Zoe-means-Life.

Blood Drive
Saturday, November 19
2 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
St. Anne's Church
32223 Cabello Street, Union City

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