Juliana Pena spends every day of her young life fighting to keep it. The 2-year-old South San Francisco girl was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer in April. But thanks to family friend CoBlooded the Great, Juliana will have some help as she battles the deadly disease — and some music to enjoy.
Bay Area hip-hop and rap artists will come together in early September to raise money for the toddler.
Juliana was diagnosed with Stage 3 neuroblastoma April 11 and has already undergone five rounds of chemotherapy, many surgeries and numerous stays in the hospital. Neuroblastoma is a cancer that arises in immature nerve cells and affects mostly infants and children. It occurs in only about 1 out of 100,000 children.
Jesus Pena, Juliana’s father, said that April day was the worst day of his life.
“I hate that day. I can’t stand that day,” Pena said. “This has been the worst four months. I wish this was a dream.”
According to Pena, his daughter will soon have a bone marrow transplant — part of the 12 to 15 months of treatment she still needs.
“After treatment, the chances of survival are 40 to 60 percent if the neuroblastoma does not reoccur,” he said.
CoBlooded, a friend of Juliana’s father and a music producer, put together The Labor Day Shakedown to help the family pay medical costs. The concert will feature local artists such as Too $hort, San Quinn, Rappin 4-Tay and Roach Gigz.
“It’s difficult enough to raise kids without cancer,” said CoBlooded, who has seven children of his own. “I have known her family for a long time; it touched me.”
CoBlooded and Juliana’s family also hope the concert will raise awareness about the rare cancer.
Pena is extremely grateful to the group of artists for offering to help.
“I know that sometimes rappers get a bad reputation, but this shows that these guys are doing something positive,” he said.
Pena works for FedEx as a courier, but has been out on a stress-related leave for three months and doesn’t think he will be able to return to work.
“This is more than a one person job, and my girlfriend [Patricia Watson, Juliana’s mother] can’t do it alone,” said Pena. “I can’t go to work. I am exposed to 100 to 200 customers a day and I don’t want to expose her.”
If you go
The Labor Day Shakedown
What: Benefit concert for Juliana Pena, a South San Francisco 2-year-old who has Stage 3 neuroblastoma
When: 10 p.m. Sept. 2
Where: Space 550, 550 Barneveld Ave., San Francisco
Note: Featuring local artists Too $hort, CoBlooded the Great, Badhead Rick, Hugh-EMC and Rappin 4-Tay, among others
For more information on Juliana: Visit www.facebook.com/pages/Julianas-Journey/127837470624685?sk=info