In loving memory 1/16/01 – 11/11/14

Leslie Emely Ramirez

Leslie’s motto…”Never give up”

Leslie Emely Ramirez, 13, gained her wings on Tuesday, November 11, 2014, at home in Bound Brook. after 4 years fighting the biggest fight of her life. Leslie was born January 16, 2001.

Leslie was not defined by what she had. She did not give up and continued as an Eighth Grade student at Smalley Middle School, Bound Brook. She enjoyed dancing, knitting, photography, and cheerleading, among many other interests and activities. She will be sadly missed by her loving family, friends, classmates, and community.

Leslie Ramirez is an amazing girl from Bound Brook who was diagnosed with stage four Gliobastoma (brain cancer) in April 2011.  Leslie underwent brain surgery which could not fully remove the tumor.  She received radiation, various chemotherapies and physical therapy.  Leslie has dealt with losing her hair, having seizures, surgeries and missing school and her friends. The hardest part, though, was giving up her passion of competitive dance. From the moment you meet Leslie you are instantly taken by her vibrant, positive personality and her unending strength and courage.

As soon as Leslie was diagnosed with cancer, her mother became her nurse and her rock. She took a leave of absence from work to bring Leslie to Sloane-Kettering in NYC for treatments and to take care of her in the interim. In August of 2012, Leslie’s mother was laid off from her job, causing her to lose the family’s health insurance benefits. Needless to say, they now face monumental financial difficulties.

After trying everything possible in NY her doctor recommended a new trial being offered at The Children Hospital of Pittsburgh.  In January 2013, Leslie started the new year at a new hospital with a new treatment.  Doctors were new, everything was new and this was a very difficult  for Leslie.  Every three weeks she would go to Pittsburgh for treatment.   Her family does all they can to make the six hour drive fun and enjoyable. Unfortunately right after celebrating her 12th birthday on January 16, 2013, Leslie’s knees started to weaken and she lost her ability to walk.  This was very disappointing for Leslie as the month prior she decided to go back to dance. She was doing little basic things at dance but she was happy just to be on the dance floor.   She is now in a wheelchair but takes it day by day and always keeps positive.   Her hope and faith grow stronger each day.

Leslie still attends school even thought she doesn’t get anything they teach in class. Due to Chemotherapy and radiation she suffers from short term memory loss.   Not being able to remember things is very frustrating for her but she is trying her best.

Leslie goes to Sloan Kettering for PT and OT twice a week.  Her goal is to be back on her feet soon and be able to go back to dance.  Leslie had an MRI in May and it showed that her disease is stable allowing her stay on the clinical trial.    The other good news was that she only has to travel to Pittsburgh every six weeks for treatment.  Leslie is very happy about this as she does not like the hospital.

You can follow Leslie’s story on Reach for a Star Face Book page.