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Donation jar stolen from girl battling cancer

December 5, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
A Southern California mother is making a plea after a man stole a donation jar full of money meant for her 2-year-old daughter, who is battling cancer.

The theft from the counter of the USA gas station at Canoga Avenue and Vanowen Street in Canoga Park took place about 5:30 a.m. Saturday. It had about $100 in it.

It's not the money he stole that's upsetting for the mother, Vanessa Ramirez, it's who he stole from. Ramirez's daughter, Gianna Quintanilla, was diagnosed with bilateral Wilms tumor, a rare form of kidney cancer.

"She been through a lot. From June until now, we've had multiple surgeries, multiple chemo. It just shook her whole world," Ramirez said. "They just took out nine tumors in September."

Gianna's mom said she lost her job because the girl needed constant care. Making ends meet has been tough.

Kelly Khoury, who works at the gas station, heard of Gianna's story through a friend and wanted to help.

"These jars are placed at all 40 stores that we have to collect money to help Gianna's family with the medical expenses," Khoury said.

Ramirez said she uses the money for expenses like rent, food and bills, and that it has helped the family get by.

For someone to steal money meant for a little girl and her family who have already been through so much is hard for Khoury to understand and he hopes the thief does the right thing and turns himself in.

"If somebody needs help they should ask, I never turn anybody away. If this guy asked for help, we would've helped him - not to steal the jar," Khoury said.

The theft at the gas station was captured on surveillance video. The man was wearing blue shorts or jeans, a black shirt, a black and white baseball cap, and glasses.

A fund has been set up to help Gianna and her family:

Gianna Ruiz Quintanilla
Chase bank account No. 3021626592


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