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After Surviving Childhood Cancer, Local Woman Gives Back to Community

DALLAS -- Safe to say, if there's one thing worse than cancer, it's childhood cancer.

It's more rare than adult cases, and tends to be systemic, rather than attacking a specific organ.

The most common form is acute lymphoblastic leukemia.  That's the type Diana Carranza was diagnosed with at age 11.

"It was really hard for me because I didn't quite fit in with my peers," Carranza told NewsFix. "I was losing a lot of my hair and missing a lot of school."

But thanks to Children's Medical Center, there was light at the end of a long tunnel.

"They caught it pretty early," she recalled.  "I did still have to go through two and a half years of chemotherapy, so it was a long road for sure."

Since then, she's been pronounced cured and lives without fear of her leukemia coming back.  So she spends her time giving back, working at the North Texas Food Bank.

"The Food Bank actually provides access to 170,000 meals every day," Carranza said. "It's an opportunity for me to give back and do good for the community as so many people did for me during my difficult time."

Hey, September's a pretty special month for Diana.  It's both Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Hunger Action Month.

Childhood cancer - like all cancer - was once a hopeless diagnosis... But recent advancements, at Children's and other hospitals, have led to about an 80% survival rate among young patients.

And while doctors keep working to save more and more lives, many of the folks they save will keep paying it forward, just like Diana.