Wednesday , May 29 2024

Family of Cancer Patient Who Died Gets Special Gift from a Finalist on ‘The Voice’

The family of a Valley Children’s patient who died of cancer last week got a special gift from an unexpected person. 

"The Voice" finalist, Meghan Linsey, met the patient, 16-year-old Claudia Marinez last fall during a visit to Valley Children’s Hospital.

When she found out the family was in need of a dress for Claudia’s burial, she stepped in to help.

Monday, hospital employee Larissa Nevarez carried in the dress Claudia would be wearing to celebrate her quinceanera–a Hispanic coming-of-age celebration.    

Her parents are seeing it for the first time. It’s an emotional experience because just last week, Claudia lost her battle to leukemia since being diagnosed at age 5.

Instead, it’s the dress Claudia will be buried in. But it was a promise her family wanted to keep–to get Claudia a beautiful quinceanera dress.

"Claudia was supposed to her have quinceanera last year before August [when] she was 15, and she ended up getting cancer back in February [of 2014]," said Roberto Lerma, Claudia’s stepfather.

The special gift came from an unexpected person 250 miles away in Hollywood.

At the season finale for NBC show "The Voice" Monday, finalist Meghan Linsey sang her heart out while showing just how big her heart really is.

Back in September, Meghan Linsey visited Valley Children’s Hospital, sang for the patients, and met Claudia.

"She had said she remembered her character and that she was a really nice person and that she had gave her the biggest hug when she seen her," Nevarez said. 

When Nevarez found out the family was looking for a used dress for Claudia’s burial, she wanted Claudia to have a new one. She thought of Meghan Linsey, and contacted her on Facebook, since she had become friends with her on Facebook after her Valley Children’s visit.

"Just that day I had seen them posting about a cancer patient that she (Meghan Linsey) had met. She said that cancer hit home for her, so I wanted to just throw it out there," Nevarez said.

Within the hour, Meghan Linsey responded, willing to help, Nevarez said. 

Claudia’s family said it was her dream to have a quinceanera dress–and now, she’ll take it with her.

"We all miss her, our beloved Claudia–my little princess," Lerma said.

"I thank you with all my heart," Claudia’s mother Alma Morales said in Spanish.

The family is still in need of help to pay for funeral expenses. They’ve set up the Claudia Marinez Memorial Fund at WestAmerica Bank, account 0268675162.

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