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Memorial Held In Oak Cliff For 8-Year-Old Leukemia Victim

By Marianne Martinez, CBS 11 News
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Maritza Ruiz, who passed away at the age of 8 from leukemia.

Maritza Ruiz, who passed away at the age of 8 from leukemia.

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It was an unlikely place to find grace.

In the parking lot of an Oak Cliff Sonic restaurant Sunday afternoon, there were tricked out low-rider cars, rappers and tattoo artists.

But, there was also a lot of heart and support for a family coping with the loss of a little girl.

Eight-year-old Maritza Ruiz was diagnosed with leukemia in September. She died two weeks ago, leaving her family emotionally and financially devastated. Family friends helped organized a fundraiser to pay for the little girl’s funeral expenses.

“I think there’s a lot of good people in the world today,” said Maritza’s mother Sandra Ruiz. “I just thought it was going to be a little bit of help to bury my baby and it turned into all this.”

An entire community came together to help. Low-rider clubs put on a show, attracting dozens of onlookers and generous donations.

“I couldn’t imagine if it was my kid. I would want the same thing for people to show the support for me, too,” said Abbey Slade, who sold her hand-made hair bows and donated the proceeds to Maritza’s family.

The donations totaled about $2,900, which was more than enough to pay for Maritza’s funeral. The generosity of strangers has inspired Maritza’s parents to donate the remaining funds to other families struggling with cancer.

“My little girl is smiling at us and enjoying the show,” said Julio Chavarria, Maritza’s father. “She gave us a task to do and that is to help others.”

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