Teenager with rare facial tumor defies expectations after doctors encouraged parents to abort

Doctors said Jacqueline Rodriguez, a California girl with a rare facial tumor, wouldn’t live beyond her first birthday, but the teenager will soon graduate from a California high school. (Image source: YouTube video screenshot)

Kate Scanlon

Doctors said a California girl with a rare facial tumor wouldn’t live beyond her first birthday, but the teenager will soon graduate from high school, according to “Inside Edition.”

Who is Jacqueline Rodriguez?

Although Jacqueline Rodriguez, 16, has large tumors on her face, tongue and chest, she will soon graduate from high school. Rodriguez wants to study nursing at Stanford University so she can help others.

“I want to be a nurse because I grew up in a hospital helping my nurses take care of others,” Rodriguez told Barcroft TV.

Rodriguez must use a feeding tube and she speaks with help from an iPad, but she hasn’t let it stop her from pursuing her interests.

“I like playing my guitar and playing tennis,” she said. “Tennis helps with my confidence by knowing I am strong enough to play a sport.”

She added that she enjoys hanging out with her teammates, and they go bowling together.

Rodriguez explained her perseverance by saying, “I’m a normal human being that has health issues like everyone else.”

What happened?

Rodriguez’s mom, Evelyn Belen, 52, said doctors told her while she was still pregnant that her daughter’s quality of life “would be poor.”

Doctors told Belen that her daughter may not live to see her first birthday.

“They gave us a choice to end the pregnancy or continue,” Belen said. “We chose life.”

Paul Rodriguez, 60, said his daughter had her first surgery at just 3 days old.

“At first she couldn’t even swallow. We had to give her formula through her g-tube,” he said.

The couple said their daughter is “giving” and likes to take care of children and the elderly.