2017 was supposed to be the happiest time of our lives. We were expecting my now two-year-old daughter to arrive. My first child and the first girl in my family's side. My Pops was so excited to the point that he had researched the meaning of my daughter's name, which to be honest I don't ever remember doing myself. She was born with my parents being with us, my dad mustering the courage to hold a newborn and me handing her to her so that he can enjoy holding her.
It was a short-lived moment that we enjoyed, my dad was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer two months later. I still remember his call telling me that they had to operate to take the tumor out and all will be all right. Fast forward a month later Savi and I flew home to be with my family and sadly they were unable to remove the tumor as it was enveloped it veins and if touched my father would have died. He was given 6 months to live 12 at most. A conversation that my dad had with me over the phone a couple of weeks after his surgery. I vividly remember him telling me that it was ok and he has accepted his fate.
As a daughter, I was never prepared or even thought of my parents not being around. My dad was always invincible and even as he told me the news, it didn't seem real and I all I knew what to do was not cry because I know that it would break my dad if I did. I convinced him to come to San Francisco for a second opinion and thankfully we met with the most amazing team of doctors that believed my dad could be cured if not give him more time. Dr. Andrew Ko and his team at UCSF were the most amazing, caring human beings that cared for my dad. Ana my dad's nurse was my sounding board of what we needed to get done for my dad and what to expect. Dr. Ko was always concerned about how my dad felt physically, mentally and emotionally.
Sadly, cancer got the best of my dad at the end. He fought fearlessly, he hated hospitals, needles and white coats. Yes, my hero faced that everyday as he fought not for himself but for his family. For his family to be able to accept what God has laid out for him, for him to help us through the journey, for us to be strong enough and ultimately to ensure that we would all be ok. Ultimately it was all for his family.
I want to raise funds for Pancreatic Cancer Research to find a cure. To honor my dad and ultimately donate to the hospital that gave my father 18 more months to live. Live to spend time with us his family and for me those 18 months of seeing his Savi Lulu grow up in front of him . For him to be able to see her shimmy to his favorite Abba song, to see her eat avocadoes, for her to throw food at bootsie and for her to say Lolo. Those are the times that no amount of money can buy, memories that I will tell my daughter when she is old enough to remember.
I want to find a cure for cancer, to stop the disease and perhaps one day prevent someone from feeling the pain, sadness, and emptiness that I feel. I want to help the hospital that helped us so much, who has given my family more time with dad to create those priceless moments.
I am starting this campaign as we enter October, Find a cure for cancer month. The campaign will run through November which would have been my dad's 71st Birthday.
If you would like to donate directly to UCSF please do let me know so that I can send you the details.
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