The 4-year-old San Antonio girl named Jalene Salinas, who caught the hearts of a huge number of Facebook followers through her courageous battle against brain cancer, died Sunday night.
Relatives said Jalene passed away around 7:45 p.m. encompassed by family and companions in her home in South Side.
According to Jalene’s mother, Jennifer Arriaga, “She beat cancer, she’s free now, she’s happy.”
Diagnosed with an uncommon type of brain cancer a year ago, Jalene underwent brain surgery and a few rounds of extreme chemotherapy.
At a subsequent follow-up in January, specialists found the tumors had developed back and there was nothing they could do to prevent them.
Indeed as her body became weaker by the day, Arriaga said Jalene remained enthusiastic, setting up a brave battle and continually blazing her irresistible smile even as she passed away.
“That was Jalene’s personality. She wanted to give her whole heart to everyone,” Arriaga said. “She didn’t want nobody to be sad, she wanted everybody to be happy and I think that’s where that smile comes in.”
Arriaga started to record Jalene’s journey through a Facebook page that was initially intended to keep family and friends updated on her condition. The page soon pulled in almost 40,000 followers from all over the world, with complete strangers sending prayers and hoping for a miracle to save her life.
According to Arriaga, “Tons of people know her and she’s touched so many lives, and I just want to thank not just our community, but the whole world for sticking by Jalene.”
The page not just kept individuals knowledgeable about Jalene’s condition, it also united individuals as they pulled strings to help satisfy a few of her last wishes that got to be known as Jalene’s bucket list.
On Monday, the page was loaded with a large number of sympathy messages and petitions to God for her family.
Arriaga trusts Jalene’s smile and her soul will keep on serving as a motivation to others.
According to Arriaga, “I believe she brought the whole community together, and I think everybody has shown each other love and that’s all through Jalene.”
Burial service plans are still pending however relatives plan to hold a candlelight vigil at 8 p.m. Monday before the family’s home in the 300 block of Bustillo Drive.