Multiple trips to the hospital gave no explanation for the pain her young daughter was dealing with.
In March, the Villanueva family took a vacation to Universal Studios. They didn't have any knowledge of the wild ride ahead. Destinee told sister station ABC7 News she felt such pain during that trip.
"I just didn't want to say because I didn't want to ruin everything," Destinee said. "So I kind of just kept it to myself."
Talk about a mother’s intuition! A San Jose woman noticed her 10yo daughter was acting strangely, she complained about abdominal pain. After several hospital trips/no explanation, mom demanded a CT scan. What doctors found has changed the Villanueva family’s life forever #abc7now pic.twitter.com/JnzCAKkRwP— Amanda del Castillo (@AmandaDTV) August 2, 2018
Destinee couldn't hide the pain for long, and the pain grew worse.
The family attended a wedding, and instead of watching Destinee out on the dance floor, they found her sleeping.
Miriam insisted the family rush to the emergency room. She told ABC7 News she wasn't going to leave the hospital without an explanation and without a CT scan.
Doctors notified Miriam and her husband, Jovani, about a nearly 5-pound, stage 3 malignant cancerous tumor growing in one of Destinee's ovaries.
The tumor ruptured and was leaking cancer cells to the girl's stomach. Miriam said doctors suggested emergency surgery and chemotherapy, optimistic about Destinee's recovery.
"It sounded so easy at the moment," Miriam said. "But the moment they mentioned chemotherapy, I knew what was coming."
Sweet, smiling Destinee Villanueva just crushed the #inmyfeelingschallenge. Would you believe me if I told you she had a nearly 5-pound, stage 3 malignant cancerous tumor recently removed from her body? Yeah...... you won’t want to miss this story. Catch it at 11p! #abc7now pic.twitter.com/w0oQQZRljj— Amanda del Castillo (@AmandaDTV) August 2, 2018
Chemo treatments had taken a toll on the 10-year-old, who was later diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
"The minute Destinee was diagnosed, I stopped working," her mother told ABC7 News.
Without work, the mounting medical bills added to the Villanueva's misfortune.
Shop with a Cop Foundation of Silicon Valley created a Go Fund Me page for the family to help with the burden. The Villanuevas often volunteered for the organization in the past.
"As a father, you feel powerless," Jovani Villanueva said. "To not be able to help the way you would want, or to be able to take that sickness away from her or at least get it out of her body."
I don’t want to spoil the story, but I want to get viewers to the @gofundme page for 10-year-old Destinee Villanueva. I sat down with her for just a few minutes, but I quickly learned she is such a remarkable little girl with so much wisdom. https://t.co/sY3W6MGg1d #abc7now pic.twitter.com/EGWpMgvj4P— Amanda del Castillo (@AmandaDTV) August 2, 2018
Destinee battled ovarian cancer from April 20 until just this week.
Her mother shared the good news, "Monday, July 30th, she was actually cleared."
Destinee explained she was able to stay positive throughout treatment because of her family. Both parents shaved their heads in support of their daughter, who was up against a serious sickness.
Destinee also said she noticed many others were in worse situations. "Being a 10-year-old and going through this isn't easy," she said. "In the hospital, I would see 3-year-olds or 5-year-olds going through it. I would be like, it's even worse for them because they're even littler."
For now, blood work is still required every month, CT scans and MRI's are required every three months, and Destinee will have to remain on a strict and healthy diet.
On Tuesday, she was back to her old self, smiling and dancing to Drake's song "In My Feelings."
*Follow us on YouTube
* More local news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts