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Health
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North America
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Cancer, New Mexico, USA, Adoption, Children, AIDS
A short summary for this story that will go on the stories page (1-2 sentences):
Mooda Robinson-Rashad's parents had no idea how sick she was when they adopted her at birth. Health problems piled on, but her family persevered. Then came the worst – diseases they could neither fathom nor cure. Now their love and faith keep them going as they fight for the 18-year-old's life.
Craig Fritz

1995 — student award of excellence

Mooda Robinson-Rashad's parents had no idea how sick she was when they adopted her at birth. Health problems piled on, but her family persevered. Then came the worst – diseases they could neither fathom nor cure. Now their love and faith keep them going as they fight for the 18-year-old's life.

Mooda was diagnosed with AIDS at 8 years-old. Though she was born with the illness, New York State’s Child Protective Services failed to inform her adoptive parents, Pepa and David. Mooda was recently diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma. Her parents care for her, their other grown children and their grandchildren solely with government assistance. They are in the process of adopting another HIV positive infant from New York.

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Mooda Robinson-Rashad, 17, lies in bed at the University of New Mexico Hospital pediatric oncology ward. Mooda is being treated for Burkitt’s lymphoma but the AIDS that plagues her body significantly complicates treatment for the cancer. Mooda has been continuously in and out again of the hospital and grows very weary of the time spent in the hospital rather than with her family. Craig Fritz/Alexia Foundation
Pepa Robinson Rashad, gently coaxes her youngest daughter into putting medicine on her lips while at the hospital for treatment. For a time, Pepa wore Sponge Bob Square Pants slippers because they made her laugh as Mooda’s treatment stretched into months she wore out the slippers. Craig Fritz/Alexia Foundation
Mooda leaves the hospital getting a high-five from, Michelle Jennings, one of her nurses. Mooda’s wrist had swollen after having an IV put in and a pen circle was drawn to show the extent of the swelling. Craig Fritz/Alexia Foundation
After being released from the hospital on June 6, Mooda gets a haircut from Diana Herrera at Changes Unlimited. Although chemotherapy has caused most of her once full head of hair to fall out, Mooda does not want to lose the remaining strands. Craig Fritz/Alexia Foundation
Mooda’s nieces Ke Ke Whitfield-Rashad, 10, center, and Javona Worthy-Rashad, 6, squeal upon hearing it’s fried chicken for dinner at home. It's her favorite meal, which she’ll miss during another night in the hospital. Craig Fritz/Alexia Foundation
Pepa comforts her daughter Mooda as she falls asleep on the family room floor of their apartment in Albuquerque. The family, split between two households, brought just a little furniture from their Roswell home. Craig Fritz/Alexia Foundation
Mooda peeks out the window on the landing at the apartment complex to see whether a television from Make a Wish Foundation has arrived. Mooda can endure only limited exposure to sunlight while the chemotherapy drugs are in her system. Her nephew, Abdul Robinson-Rashad, keeps watch from the apartment door. Craig Fritz/Alexia Foundation
One her 18th birthday Mooda relishes the cash she got from friends and family. The Make a With Foundation threw a pizza party for the family in addition to the thousands of dollars in gifts that were donated. Mooda is excited to use the money to buy clothes and shoes. Craig Fritz/Alexia Foundation
After sitting down at the kitchen table, Pepa pauses before filling Mooda’s pillbox for the next week. Pepa always has another task to move onto. She thinks about how she would rather not move to Albuquerque permanently from their home in Roswell. Paying two rents right now is not possible. Craig Fritz/Alexia Foundation
Deafness brought on by a stroke keeps Mooda from hearing the prayer at Adat Yeshua Messianic Synagogue. She takes a look around the sanctuary while being cradled by her father David. Due to her illnesses, Mooda is unable to hold her body heat and is more sensitive to the cold. Craig Fritz/Alexia Foundation