Temple Ahavat Shalom parents and preschoolers strolled around America's Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College on Jan. 27, waiting for Alexa Weiner to arrive for her fifth birthday party. When they learned that the event had been canceled due to a family emergency, none of them could have imagined that the bright, spirited birthday girl was at Childrens Hospital, fighting for her life as she awaited emergency surgery for stage-three brain cancer.
When Pam Acosta's mother, Rose, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June of 1996, Acosta was at a loss. The only thing she knew about the disease was that it claimed actor Michael Landon's life. "The doctors offered no answers, no hope. Only a three- to six-month sentence," says Acosta. In anguish, she wondered, "If Michael Landon couldn't save himself, how can I save my mother?"