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Zaida’s Story

Zaida (ZAY-da) turned 3 in September 2007. We learned she had cancer a month later on October 31st. 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 almost 11 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 nearly 8 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. Zaida had another lengthy surgery and hospital stay in April 2015 at MD Anderson.  We've also learned that the cancer has spread to her chest, and we will go back to MD Anderson for her first thoracic surgery on September 15, 2015.

Zaida has a sister Runa (age 13) 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 100% of all donations marked for Zaida will go directly back to the family. Also, visit for information on a tax deductable receipt.

If you prefer to donate with a credit card, a page has been set up here:

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!

Thank you!

Latest Journal Update

Change of plans...

Instead of starting chemo tomorrow, Zaida's going to start with a new chest CT, a GFR renal study, and intensive radiation.

The radiation doctor was really nice and easy to talk to. He mentioned tattooing marks on her chest (to mark the treatment field). Zaida had radiation 3 years ago, so I knew basically how it worked, but this was news to me. I said, "Tattoos? Real tattoos?" He said, "Yes! With a needle and drop of ink. It feels like a bee sting." So...I was surprised and Zaida started to cry. The doctor tried to talk her into it, and I said let's go for it...but more needles - Zaida did not want that! They'll just mark her with a sharpie, and the marks have to stay on for 3 weeks.

We've decided to do 3 weeks of high-dose radiation. It's 5 days a week, and the treatment takes about 10 minutes. No pain, no nausea, but possible tiredness and skin redness (like a sunburn) after a couple weeks. Then we will do the chemo. This feels like an easy (but effective) way to begin. If we do radiation and chemo simultaneously, it will be very, very rough on her. They are only doing radiation on the right pleura, casting a wide net to be as thorough as possible, but doing nothing about the 2 small tumors in her left lung (yes, we've just learned they are IN, not ON her left lung). Those are small, not causing symptoms, and need to be treated with chemo.

Zaida had the radiation simulation today. I'm not sure when we officially start, but we're ready!

Some people have suggested my getting a massage. That sounds much more appropriate than running for the hills for the weekend!

8 people hearted this



Susan Mesches
By Susan Mesches
Prayers and positive thoughts are being sent your way for all of you.
Lisa Lindeman
By Lisa Lindeman
Definitely - the massage is in order. Your medical team seems to be moving forward with a plan that is best for Zaida; yeah!!! God bless you all, prayers continue.
Sherrill Jones
By Sherrill Jones
I continue to hold you all in my thoughts and prayers.