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Zaida’s Story

Zaida (ZAY-da) turned 3 in September 2007. We learned she has cancer on October 31st, 2007. After eight very difficult and scary days in the hospital, we learned it was peritoneal carcinomatosis, resembling ovarian cancer and mesothelioma (neither of which should happen to a 3-year-old). She is now 10 and still an energetic and bright girl, even after all she has been through.

Click on 'Read More' below for more information about Zaida and how to DONATE TO ZAIDA directly through Zac's Legacy where the money will go towards her medical care.  


Using this "Donate Today" button will allow you to donate to CaringBridge, NOT TO ZAIDA AND HER FAMILY!!!

Zaida has been a cancer patient for over 7 years!  She had 3 years of various chemos and significant surgeries. After this, we had 22 months of remission, treatment-free! Zaida relapsed in April 2012, and had surgery and radiation (first time for radiation) over the summer. Then, she had 2 years of post-radiation chemo, and again went off-treatment this past October.

In December 2014, we learned that Zaida was having another relapse, and we must fight cancer again. We are heading to MD Anderson where Zaida will have a lengthy surgery and hospital stay in April.

Zaida has a sister Runa (age 12) who is wonderful and supportive! They both love Minecraft, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, Pokemon, The Legend of Zelda, Harry Potter, fairies, magic, and animals.

Please help support us in creating history - by helping us beat this unique illness. We welcome your love and support. Please sign our guestbook and read our journal. 

There is a fund set up for Zaida's medical care.

Donations can be sent to:

Zac's Legacy Foundation, Inc.

2990 W. 29th Street, Suite 1

Greeley, CO 80631

Please write 'Zaida Mattson' in the memo portion of your check.

Visit All donations marked for Zaida will go directly back to the family. Also, visit for information on a tax deductable receipt.

Nichol has also started a home-based business to help with medical costs.  Please visit and consider purchasing some handmade soap or hand-crocheted scarves.  They make wonderful gifts!

Latest Journal Update


Zaida ended up at the ER last night due to a fever of 103; she got labs (her ANC is slowly rising), blood and urine cultures, and a dose of rocephin. This is all very usual for her - unexplainable fevers and just-in-case antibiotic treatments.

We had to go to Denver again today for the second dose of rocephin. Dr. Clark came to see her and had the pathology results. It is not good. The biopsy showed "scattered lymphocytes and abundant necrotic material, some of which appears to be necrotic tumor." They saw "occasional mitoses," which indicates cancer. This means there are live cells and they witnessed cell division. Usually, cells divide slowly enough that you wouldn't actually see it happen, but cancer cells divide faster than normal cells. The stains show that the cells are similar to her original tumor cells.

Dr. Clark is going to contact MD Anderson and Zaida's surgeon there. We will most likely get a re-staging PET/CT and go to Houston for another surgery, HITEC (Hyperthermic Intra-Thoracic Chemotherapy), and radiation. This surgery will be more difficult, in terms of recovery. A rib will likely be removed (which I guess isn't a big deal, but it is painful to recover from) and possibly (and I cannot wrap my head around this) one lung may be removed. Dr. Clark thinks it is worth it to try this; she said she would tell us if she thought it wasn't, but she cannot make this decision for us. She would fully support us if we decided to take a trip to Paris instead of Houston.

There is evidence that the vinorelbine Zaida's been getting is working, based on the CA-125 and the necrosis in the biopsy, so this is very good news. After everything else in Houston, she will get this chemo at home.

I've slogged through this slough of despair before, just as much as I've walked the cliff's edge, took a step back, and found gratitude and reasons to continue. I've seen my darkest fear and pain reflected back in a friend's eyes, I've felt the love and acceptance when I didn't want to talk about it, and I've felt the deep connectedness of humanity when all I wanted to do was jump.

Thank you all.

8 people hearted this



dawn starkey
By dawn
Oh my, I am so, so sorry. Holding out hope and prayers for you all and sweet Zaida.
Danielle Letellier
By Danielle Letellier
I am so sorry to hear this news, but know in my heart that Zaida is such a strong young lady and has the will and fight in her to conquer this beast once and for all! Keep fighting Zaida! I will be praying for you and your family.
Hugs from Michigan!
Irene Klingemann
By Irene
Prayers for Zaida and for the whole family. And wishes for some good news....warmest hugs!!!!
Lois Warren
By Lois Warren
Prayers continue...
Charlotte Bennett
By Charlotte Bennett
Prayers go your way. I am so very sorry that Zaida has to endure all this. It is so very painful to see one's child go through a catastrophic illness... My youngest son had a TBI in March, he has lost a lot of his hearing and has some operations to possibly go through. I also lost my middle son last summer to a massive stroke. One does not understand why these things happen, especially to one's children. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
Shane Bergan
By Shane
My thoughts are with you and your family.
Sherrill Jones
By Sherrill
Keeping the prayers of healing, strength and comfort flowing... breathe and take time to keep yourself strong and healthy! We have your back Nichol... lean on others when you need to... with love and an abiding faith always.
Pam Derner
Oh no, I am so sorry. Sending prayers and hugs to all.
Lisa Lindeman
By Lisa Lindeman
This journey you travel is definitely a bumpy one. Continued prayers for the whole family and medical team. God Bless.
Judi Malmborg
By Judi Malmborg — last edited
So sorry you have to continue on the same route you have been on for so long. Zaida is certainly a real trooper to continue the fight! Please know that you, Zaida & your whole family will continue to be in our prayers that your strength & faith carry you through this and that Zaida be healed!