Friends raising funds for funeral of 10-year-old


Staff Writer

A child's death is always untimely.

For those parents and grandparents who have nurtured and cherished a child on this earth for any space of time, only to lose that child to accident or disease, the emotional pain is beyond description.

Through that overwhelming pain a family must organize and attend their child's funeral.

In the days and weeks to follow, they have to find the money to pay for that funeral.

Vanessa Flores died Thursday, a little girl barely 10 years old, her body giving in to the cancer that had raced through her system on and off for three years.

Vanessa was a fourth-grader in Jose Quevedo's fourth- and fifth-grade combined class at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary school in El Centro.


On Monday her teacher, his voice breaking, described the little girl as being, "Full of life and fun … she loved to tell jokes and she especially loved to engage adults in conversation. There was something special about Vanessa; had she lived she would have left her mark on this world, I'm sure about that."

For a time it seemed Vanessa would win the fight against her cancer. Chemotherapy shrunk the brain tumor and Quevedo tells how Vanessa's hair had grown back to a luxuriant length that hung down her back.

"I would watch her on the playground earlier this year; she had gained weight in her face and her hair was thick and shiny," the teacher said, adding, "She looked so happy."

At the beginning of April, Vanessa's health began to deteriorate quickly again and she was admitted to Children's Hospital in San Diego, this time for the last time.

Her classmates then organized a car wash to raise money for Vanessa's family, which is not a large or affluent one, to help with the costs of traveling between Imperial Valley and San Diego.

"I'm am so proud of all my students because they worked hard to raise money for Vanessa and her family by holding that car wash on April 11," Quevedo said.

Now that money will be needed to meet the cost of a funeral and Vanessa's burial in Calexico's Mountain View Cemetery.

But it still won't be enough to pay all the bills. So Quevedo is hoping members of the community will help by donating in Vanessa's memory enough money to allow her family to pay with dignity the costs associated with the little girl's death.

Quevedo says he wants Vanessa's family to be able to grieve for their child without the added pain and heartache of being in financial debt.

Donations can be made at the school at 1950 Villa Road in El Centro. The office is open from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. The phone number is 337-6555.

>> Staff Writer Jennifer Ralton-Smith can be reached at 337-3442 or

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