Young author shares her remarkable story

February 21, 2011 3:47:19 PM PST
This is the story of a young lady from the Kensington section of Philadelphia that just might define the words hope and inspiration.

It all began when Deana Vega didn't want her grandmother's 'super-duper delicious pancakes.'

Turning down that stack of syrupy goodness turned on a grandma's gut instinct that something was wrong.

That same day, doctors diagnosed then 9-year-old Deana Vega with leukemia.

"At one point, she was bedbound and she couldn't move and she didn't have her hair. and seeing the times where she did want to give up [and] now where she refuses to give up," Deana's mother Rose Vega said.

That's because today Deana is cancer-free, and a co-author of her very first book "How My Sun Got its Smile." It's her tale of tears and triumph, with a touch of 12-year-old humor.

"When she talked about how bad is cancer...she said it's as bad as stinky cheese, it's as bad as a baby's poopy diaper," co-author Judy Willner said.

Today, she brought a little laughter and a lot of emotion to a packed house at the place she was treated - St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, signing copies with this pinch of positivity:

"I write 'May your sun always smile,'" Deana said. "Don't think about the bad stuff. Think about positive stuff. For them to never give up."

Daily doses of chemo took Deana's hair, but she didn't lose one strand of confidence.

"I wasn't going to wear a wig or a hat or scarf for people to start talking about me. If they were going to talk about me, they could have come to me. I was going to let people see me for me," Deana said.

Her curls are back and apparently so is her appetite for Grandma's specialty.

Lucy Vega says she is still making the pancakes and her granddaughter Deana "loves them."