Meet S.N.

Rhabdomyosarcoma

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”


Although she was only 12 years old when she died from a rare childhood cancer, S.N. embraced her own challenges and sought to spread compassion to others.


Diagnosed at age four with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare type of cancer that forms in soft tissue, S.N. and her family battled through almost two years of treatment. After her initial diagnosis and treatment, S.N. had a wonderful time exploring all kinds of art, participating in sports (basketball being her favorite), dance, music (she played piano very well) and everything else that life had to offer until she relapsed at the age of 10. After two more years of emotional turmoil and painful treatment, in 2020 it became evident that S.N. would not make it to her 13th birthday. It was at this time that S.N. was connected with the Coastal Kids Home Care Palliative Care team.


“Once a patient is sent home for hospice care, it's more a waiting game,” recalls S.N.’s mother. “For a child and unfortunate families that are in this “waiting” state, Coastal Kids provided the best resources. Their amazing team of professionals were available anytime--day or night--and their priority was always patient and the family.”


Coastal Kids Palliative Care team coordinates with pediatric specialists to ensure continuity of care from hospital to home. Nurses are experts in pain and symptom management, while social workers, expressive therapists and counselors step in to support the emotional and practical needs of the child and their whole family. Without Coastal Kids Home Care, children and families affected by cancer in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Benito, and Monterey Counties, would have no option for in-home palliative or end-of-life care services. No one understands this better than a family experiencing it first hand.


“Coastal Kids is the ONLY pediatric organization in the Bay Area that offers these services and the medical expertise they bring, along with the counseling services, are exceptional. ” says S.N.’s mother. “The team helped us navigate through the unimaginable situations no parent should ever have to face and they took care of everything while we were focused on spending time with our beautiful girl.”


Today, two years since S.N,’s passing, Coastal Kids Director of Palliative Care and Bereavement, Ruth Shapiro, LCSW continues to support S.N.’s family. Whether it is just a text to check-in or a scheduled appointment, Ruth and the whole team continues to be there for the family. In honor of S.N., her mother has reached out to find ways that she and her family can continue to support Coastal Kids Home Care and the children they serve. “We couldn’t have asked for a better team to take care of us during the darkest hours of our lives,” S.N.’s mother says. “Coastal Kids was there every step of the way to guide us and to provide the support we needed. They are angels in human form and will forever be a part of our family.”


As for S.N., her compassion and empathy for others fighting difficult battles is remembered in her beautiful artwork. This September in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, one of S.N.’s handwritten quotes is featured on t-shirts and sweatshirts in our online store. Purchase a shirt today (see below), in memory of S.N. and support in-home palliative and end-of-life care for children living with cancer and other serious-illness in our community.


“Coastal Kids is the ONLY pediatric organization in the Bay Area that offers these services and the medical expertise they bring, along with the counseling services, are exceptional. ” says S.N.’s mother. “The team helped us navigate through the unimaginable situations no parent should ever have to face and they took care of everything while we were focused on spending time with our beautiful girl.”

--S.N.'s Mom

Meet S.N.