A ‘New’ Rosalina Frias : Teen-Ager Gets Her Wish After Months of Chemotherapy

Times Staff Writer

It was a nervous time for Rosalina Frias. Her large brown eyes were wide open as she sat in the Studio City beauty salon Saturday morning, even though she had barely gotten any sleep the previous night. In a few more hours, after a lot of fussing and fixing, Rosalina, 18, would become the “new” Rosalina.

But the teen-ager’s anxiety over her first major beauty make-over could not overwhelm the joy she felt at finally getting her wish--and she would tell only her closest friends why the wish was granted.

The $175 pamper session at Papillons, which included full body massage, facial, makeup and hair styling, was her gift from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization that grants wishes for children who have life-threatening diseases. Frias suffers from leukemia, and the make-over was her dream after undergoing months of chemotherapy at County-USC Medical Center.

Frias, who only speaks Spanish, had been diagnosed in her native Mexico last year as having only three months to live. Her parents sent her to Los Angeles for chemotherapy.


Now the disease is in remission. Frias, who is enrolled as a senior at Jefferson High School in Los Angeles, is feeling energetic and strong, said Yolanda Bueno, a foundation volunteer.

“She has a very positive attitude, and the doctors said that is really helping her now,” Bueno said.

Talk of her medical condition Saturday took a back seat to Frias’ new-found delight.

“I’ve always wanted to do this, but I could never afford it,” she said, giggling. The fan of glamour magazines said she wished that she could get fixed up like rock star Madonna. But she did not think that her newly grown hair was long enough.


Still, Frias smiled as Papillon stylists moussed her hair and brushed it back. She seemed slightly less enthusiastic about the makeup session. “She doesn’t like to wear much makeup,” said her aunt, Magda Rubin, with whom Frias is staying.

When the session was over, Frias beamed as she walked around the salon. Staff members approached to congratulate her, saying she was welcome back anytime. A limousine was commissioned to whisk her to Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance for a shopping spree.

“I want to get some Levi’s, some loose-fitting shirts, you know, stuff for school,” she said.

But that would not be the end of Frias’ weekend excitement. Her mother is expected to arrive today in Los Angeles. It will be the first time that the two have seen each other since the chemotherapy treatments began.


Frias wondered what her mother would think of her new look. She said she knew it would be a happy reunion either way.