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Saginaw Township woman leaves a legacy of giving

June 9, 2010 2:18:39 PM PDT
(06/09/10) -- In March, we brought you the story of Tanya Medina, a 39-year-old Saginaw Township woman who was battling pancreatic cancer. Tanya passed away early this morning.

After learning she had the life-threatening illness, Tanya wanted to make the most of every moment she had with her 8-year-old son, Santino, so she applied to ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" to volunteer on one of their projects.

Week after week, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" touches lives by reaching out to those in need.

"Santino looked at me and he said, 'Mom, wouldn't that be so cool if we could get on the bus.'"

After applying online to be viewer volunteers, Tanya and Santino Hernandez were hand picked to work side-by-side with the design team.

The reason was Tanya's story. "Back in July of '09 I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer," she said.

Tanya, 39, says there's no cure for her cancer. That's why she's making every moment count with 8-year-old Santino, including teaching him to give back.

"Well, some people you don't know, but you just want to help them," Santino said.

Both Tanya and Santino got their hands dirty along the way. Some of their favorite memories were on the set in what's called Art World. That's where Santino picked up a paint brush and got to work.

"It's going to be so cute and heartwarming to know that hey, my son, he painted those shutters," Tanya said, proudly.

Santino liked painting and loved meeting some of his idols. "Jillian Harris The Bachelorette, Michael Moloney, designer, and Xhibit."

Now Santino has this shirt, dozens of pictures and countless memories to help him relive this unforgettable experience with his mom.

"This was something that I wanted to do for him, to make his dream come true and to create some awesome memories for the two of us."

Tayna was surrounded by family and friends when she passed away.

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