Surprise Quinceañera Party for a CHOC Patient

Jose Francisco Sanchez

With a few days notice, Quinceanera.com and CHOC Children’s-Children’s Hospital of Orange County collaborated together to provide a surprise Quinceañera party celebration for a 15-year-old patient who will be undergoing a delicate brain surgery

ORANGE, Calif., – December 12

The staff of Quinceanera.com, the sister brand of parent company El Clasificado, and CHOC Children’s-Children’s Hospital of Orange County, organized a surprise Quinceañera party for Jennifer Torres, one of the medical center’s current patients who will be undergoing a delicate brain surgery operation on Monday, December 16.

Joining her in the celebration were Jennifer’s parents, younger brother, grandparents and cousin.

The Quinceañera party was organized with little time to spare.

Patty Covarrubias, Director of Business Development for CHOC Children’s Foundation, reached out to Quinceanera.com for support in this noble cause.

Quinceanera.com was able to secure donations for the surprise Quinceañera party from generous sponsors including its clients Decoradisimo in Santa Ana, which donated the quinceañera dress and tiara; Marissa’s Cake in Downey, which prepared a lovely lilac tiered cake; and Neutrogena, which donated skincare gifts; and Spiritú, a subscription box service that provided goodies for the birthday girl.

Jennifer joined by her parents and brother.

“This is the first time we have had a Quinceañera fiesta at CHOC. The El Clasificado team is magnificent for doing so much in such little time. We appreciate their enormous support in providing Jennifer a Quince party before her surgery,” Covarrubias said.

“I feel happy. I am surprised that they have done all of this for me,” Jennifer said. She is currently a 10th grader at Loara High School in Anaheim. She expressed her goal for the future is to be a teacher for children with special needs.

Here is Jennifer smiles while holding the teddy bear mascot of CHOC.

The sickness Jennifer is battling prevented her from celebrating a traditional Quinceañera party. Her birthday was this past 27th of November.

“She was born and grew up healthy, until she reached 10 years old, that’s when the problem started. It has affected her capacity to move more and more, as well as her speech and memory retention,” said Josefa Guadalupe, Jennifer’s mother. “Here at CHOC there are many specialists who are encouraging her, she is very perseverant and takes her therapy sessions seriously,” she added.

Armando Torres, the Quinceañera’s father, said this surprise party was a marvelous moment for them as a family.

“I don’t have words to describe it. It’s a moment she will keep in her heart. She will not forget what all of you are doing for her. We know that when she sees photos and videos of this celebration, she will feel motivated to push forward through her recovery process,” Torres said.

Read more about Jennifer and her condition here:

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Jennifer, who just turned 15, has Rasmussen syndrome. It's a rare inflammatory neurological disease and has had a debilitating impact on her life. ・ This progressive disorder causes frequent seizures and overall cognitive decline. She is currently seen by CHOC neurologist, Dr. Mary Zupanc. ・ In the past year, Dr. Zupanc has noticed a decline significant enough in Jennifer’s symptoms to present her to Neurosurgery at CHOC. The surgery would remove the left hemisphere of her brain to help the symptoms of her condition. ・ “Speech and language is normally located in the left hemisphere,” says Dr. Zupanc. “However, because Jennifer is still young and her condition is progressing slowly, her brain will be smart enough to relocate speech and language to the right hemisphere.” ・ Tests proved Jennifer to be a good candidate for the surgery with CHOC neurosurgeon Dr. Joffre E. Olaya, but there was one thing Jennifer needed to check off her list before moving forward: her upcoming quinceañera. ・ “We all knew how important this quinceañera was to Jennifer and her family,” said Dr. Zupanc. “We made the decision to delay her surgery so she could celebrate this special time in her life.” ・ Jennifer did end up having her quinceañera with family and friends, but Dr. Zupanc thought it would be special if CHOC held one for her as well. ・ She tapped Sandra Schultz, CHOC’s manager of Customer Service, who then reached out to Patty Covarrubias, director of Business Development at CHOC Children’s Foundation. And, in a matter of hours, a quinceañera was planned. ・ Together with @elclasificado and @quinceanera, Jennifer was surprised with hair and makeup, a beautiful dress, cake and party decorations on December 12. ・ Four days later, on December 16, Jennifer went into surgery. ・ “She will, of course, need a few days to recover—she’s not in any pain as the brain doesn’t have any pain receptors—but she is slowly waking up and saying a few words,” says Dr. Zupanc. ・ This quinceañera experience meant the world to Jennifer and her family, and we hope the memories of her special day help her during her recovery.

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Jose Francisco Sanchez

Author Jose Francisco Sanchez

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