Family-owned Arizona taco shop fundraising for nonprofit after baby dies from leukemia

Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels helps countless families dealing with the difficult journey of childhood cancer.
Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 5:21 PM MST|Updated: Jan. 10, 2023 at 6:03 PM MST
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TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - The owners of an Arizona taco shop chain, Tacos Calafia, lost a baby boy to leukemia on New Year’s Day. As they grieve their loss, they’re rallying to pay it forward to help other families dealing with the same tragedy. Their baby boy, Luca, spent his life in the hospital, but that didn’t stop him from enjoying the time with his parents, Celeste and Christian Lopez. “Through this whole process Luca has a smile on his face,” said Celeste.

The 10-month-old didn’t know he was going through leukemia, rounds of chemotherapy, and a bone marrow transplant that failed. “They don’t know what’s going on, and you feel helpless in the situation, you see your child suffering and it really is torture,” said Celeste. As Celeste stepped away from Tacos Calafia, her other half worked harder after he came to their second home at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

It was there that the nonprofit Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels stepped in. “They wanted to take something off my back when I had a million things going on,” said Celeste. The nonprofit was founded by Lorraine Tallman, named after her daughter Amanda Hope, who died from cancer when she was 12.

Now, Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels helps countless families dealing with the difficult journey of childhood cancer. The Lopez family is one of them, and the nonprofit has paid for their electricity and offered counseling services for the entire family. “As a mother who lost a child, it’s that thing that gets you up in the morning, no I am going to make a difference, I am going to help another family,” said Tallman.

Baby Luca sadly died on New Year’s Day, not before he could be a part of a surprise proposal between his parents. The ring was hidden in his hands. “It was even more special because I didn’t think Luca was ever going to be apart of that and I’m glad that memory is always going to be with Luca my ring is always going to be about Luca,” said Celeste.

Now, Celeste wants to honor Luca’s short life for a very long time with a new fundraiser at their restaurant. Proceeds will go back to Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels. “Even with Luca gone, his memory is still around us, he’s putting smiles on peoples faces and I’m hoping this fundraiser will put smiles on families faces,” she said.

The fundraiser is at Tacos Calafia’s Tempe location at 414 S Mill Ave Unit 115 from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. on Thursday. Twenty percent of all sales will go to Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels. If you would like to help the nonprofit, click here.