In the fall of 2013, my life changed forever. My partner of 1 year, Miguel Zegarra, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, at 22 years old.
What came after that diagnosis was some serious living. In the 6 years since that fateful day in October, Miguel had rounds and rounds of in patient chemo, countless surgeries, radiation therapy, and more doctors offices than I’d ever had hoped to see.
This was the single worst thing to ever happen in my life for so many reasons. But also, some of the best things have come as a result. The love I have for Miguel is greater than ever, and my relationship with him will always be my proudest accomplishment. My priorities in life shifted and became very clear, and I live more presently. I’ve learned great patience and how to take care of someone else in a new way.
We also really spent every day with immense gratitude for the big things, the little things, and just about everything in between. We dated for several years, graduated with a Bachelor’s degree (me), and a Master Degree (him), lived together for the first time in our little college apartment, hosted raging college football parties, traveled around the world, got a dog, got engaged, and eventually married.
On November 13, Miguel lost his life to cancer, fighting to the last moment. He was 29 years old.
Facing such a debilitating disease such as this was overwhelming. We were very blessed with a strong support system, but so many people aren’t.
Enter the Ulman Foundation. The Ulman Foundation is specifically geared to support young people as they fight cancer, providing free housing for patients and their caregivers with no maximum days, financial assistance to preserve their fertility, as well as scholarships and social support for patients, survivors, and caregivers.
I was recently invited to join the foundation in a bike ride across the country next summer in an effort to raise funds, and awareness for the foundation’s mission. I’ll be riding 50-100 miles a day from Baltimore to San Francisco, dedicating my miles to my amazing husband Miguel and other awe-inspiring patients and survivors. When we’re not on the bike, we’ll be participating in service days visiting patients in hospitals.
My fundraising goal is to reach $5000 by April 21, 2020, which happens to be my 3rd wedding anniversary to Miguel. I had the opportunity to share this news with Miguel and he was VERY excited for me, and now, more than ever, I’m super motivated to accomplish this goal.
Please consider a donation toward my ride across America with the Ulman Foundation, donations can be made on my personal page here.
Any and all support is greatly appreciated.
Each year more than 72,000 young adults are diagnosed with cancer in the United States. Young adults (ages 15-39) face a variety of unique challenges with a cancer diagnosis including social isolation, fertility preservation, insurance concerns, delayed diagnosis, and survivorship.
The Ulman Foundation changes lives by creating a community of support for young adults, and their loved ones, impacted by cancer. With your support, Ulman is able to provide free services and resources for the young adult cancer community through programs that focus on patient support services, housing, survivorship, and scholarship. Learn more about young adult cancer and our impact here.