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Photoshoot gives young cancer patients flashes of hope

"Cancer can take a lot. It takes a lot," a cancer patient's mom said as she began to cry. "But there's something it cannot take, and it's our family faith."

SAN ANTONIO — It's not every day the sound of laughter carries throughout the halls at University Hospital, but that was the case Tuesday in the first-floor corridor, thanks to Angela Arzola. 

"Oh, I love it," she said as she thanked her audience. 

Capturing the essence of the quirky 16-year-old is not easy to do. But here a photographer was, trying his best in between Angela's cancer treatments.

"They know me so well, they know I'm late," she said as her nurse later wheeled her into the Children's Blood and Cancer Care Center.

This isn't Angela's favorite place, but you wouldn't know unless you see what she has to go through. "I taste it," she said as the nurse plunged a needle into her chemo port. "It's nasty."

It wasn't too long ago Angela wasn't tasting the chemicals doctors hope will save her life, but rather living her life as a normal teenager.

"It began in March," she said. "I had knee pain."

"Just everything changed in the blink of an eye," her mother, Xochitl Arzola, added. "She just went to go spend the summer with family, and then here we go, we get the news no parents want to hear."

Angela was diagnosed with Synovial sarcoma, an aggressive tissue cancer, while visiting family in Mexico. Since then, it's been nonstop hospital visits, chemotherapy and radiation treatments. 

Angela may have lost her beautiful hair, but she hasn't lost her flawless spirit.

On Tuesday, thanks to the group Flashes of Hope, Angela and dozens of other cancer patients were made over and given a photo shoot just ahead of the holidays. 

"I actually want to do it again, like I had fun," Angela said.

It's something Lashandra Jones is doing again. This is the second time the makeup artist has volunteered for the event.

"No matter how small the gesture may be, you don't know the impact it may have on someone else's life," she said as she was finishing the makeup for a patient's mother.

That holds true for many of these families getting a glimpse of happiness and a flash of hope.

"Cancer can take a lot. It takes a lot," Angela's mom said as she began to cry. "But there's something it cannot take, and it's our family faith."

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