Our Inspiration: Zaida

  • Age: 16 years old
  • Hometown: Eden, NY
  • Diagnosis: Stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Status: In remission

February 4, 2019, was a very special day for sassy Zaida. Not only was it World Cancer Day, but she also rang the Victory Bell at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center to celebrate the end of her treatment. Her cancer journey was not an easy one.

It took doctors seven months to diagnose Zaida. After months of tests, ER visits and thinking it was a viral infection, she was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma. By the time she received her diagnosis, cancer had taken over the majority of her body. Throughout her torso, Zaida was covered – in her lungs, hips, shoulders, kidneys and spleen. Her treatment included five full cycles of chemotherapy, She would receive chemo the first three days; the fourth day she would get a shot; and then she got a break for two days. Once that was up, she started the cycle all over again.

Zaida was a rapid responder to her treatment, and after the second cycle, the majority of her cancer was gone! She was a superstar throughout her entire journey and started exploring the makeup world, experimenting with eyeshadows, lipsticks and more. She was beyond excited to ring the victory bell in February.

Her mom, Brianne, says that Zaida did really, really well with the treatment, and because she had been so bad before, she was like herself all over again once she started receiving chemo. One side effect of her journey has been anxiety and depression, but Zaida is working through it and inspiring others around her, too, especially on her Instagram.

Now, she’s in cosmetology school working hard and pursuing her dreams of becoming a professional makeup artist. No matter what life throws at her, Zaida conquers it all!

“There’s a CAN in cancer because we can beat it!” Zaida Smith
Zaida

Zaida's Favorite Things

  • Color: Lavender
  • Food: Salt and vinegar potato chips
  • Hockey Player: Nathan Beaulieu (who came to Zaida's victory bell ringing at Roswell Park!)
  • School subject: Cosmetology