One in every 285 children is diagnosed with some form of childhood cancer, according to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation.
At 13 years old, Claudia Favela became that one when was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma as an eighth-grader at Kleb Intermediate. After multiple rounds of chemotherapy and surgery to amputate her right leg, Favela, now a senior at Klein High, made a full recovery.
Shortly after her diagnosis, Favela met a girl named Mariah. The two were inseparable during the treatment process.
Mariah, unfortunately, passed away on July 10, 2017. Although Favela was devastated, she was also resilient. She decided to harness the power of that heartbreak to help others, thinking “we” not “me” ever since.
That is when the community outreach team, “Be Bold, Go Gold,” was born.
“The ultimate mission of “Be Bold, Go Gold” is to raise awareness of the adversities that young cancer patients have to overcome before, during, and after treatment,” she said.
The “Be Bold, Go Gold” team addresses funding concerns, plans community service events, and aims to grow empathy and exposure in the Klein community.
Recently, Favela was named a Top 10 Distinguished Finalist for the “Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.” She applied with her “Be Bold, Go Gold” platform last semester, hoping to share her story.
“I was shocked when I received the news that I was one of the top 10 finalists for the Prudential Award,” she said. “It really solidified that what I and my team do, and what everyone at Klein does, makes an impact.”
Favela’s mom, Lori, said she couldn’t be more proud of her daughter’s ability to adapt, the empathy she radiates and the people who helped along the way.
“Without the community of all the stakeholders at Klein, she would not be where she is today,” she said. “She has flourished beyond anyone’s expectations and when she leaves for college, I’m not worried because she has been prepared by people here in Klein who truly love her.”
The Klein environment allowed Favela to enhance her abilities to collaborate and communicate skillfully while working toward a greater good. Assistant Principal Alicia Eichhorn said that Favela brings the Profile of a Learner to life every day, acting as a role model on the campus and, ultimately, reframing the way adults view students.
“We see her as a vanguard on this campus,” she said. “Not only is she a student leader in many different capacities, but she has truly become the voice for those who haven’t found theirs yet, on and off of this campus. She’s a forever learner by definition because she talks about what is, what was and what will be despite everything.”
Favela is proud that her “Be Bold, Go Gold” movement has grown and she is grateful to everyone at Klein who helped achieve this vision that was ignited in her while laying in a hospital bed six years ago.