Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fight For Love | Cerritos Portraits

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If there is one thing that transcends age, sex, or race it's the fighting spirit that lives in all of us.  The fight to succeed, the fight for love, and the fight for life.  We recently met an amazing family with this very spirit.  A family with a unity like no other, and a family with a fight for life and love like very few.  Marisa and her family are truly a family that loves each other and it shows.  We met Marisa through a photographer friend who was unable to shoot their family portraits.  When the opportunity was presented to us we knew that this was something we wanted to and needed to do.  We decided to meet in Cerritos for their first family portraits ever.  We shared an amazing afternoon full of laughs and full of memorable moments. After the session we had a wonderful lunch as we shared stories, more laughs, and new experiences.

Marisa's story is lived out by a lot of people around the world, and there are no words to describe the struggle it represents for the families that go through this.  We felt that it was important to share Marisa's story with you, but more importantly it is important to hear it in her words.

So here it is from Marisa to you:
 "I used to work as a special education teacher (non-public school with youth on probation for about 7 years, and public high school for 1 year) before I resigned from my position in 2010 to fully commit myself to the Master's program at Cal State Fullerton. It was very difficult juggling the two (work and school, that is). So, I finally made the decision to leave my teaching position to complete my master's program. In May 2011, I finally graduated and received my master's degree in Education. I decided to take a break to celebrate my accomplishments. But in November 2011, before I was to take a trip to Thailand (my parents' country of origin), I was suddenly admitted into the hospital for abdominal pains. I was then diagnosed with Stage IV colorectal cancer, which has metastasized into my liver, my lungs, and just recently, my bones. I underwent surgery (a colon resection) the day after being diagnosed, and had to cancel my trip. I began chemotherapy treatments a month later, and will start radiation this Wednesday. The road to recovery has been long and difficult with all the pain, the side-effects, and emotional ups-and-downs, and unfortunately, I'm not quite out of the woods just yet. I was told that my prognosis was "grim" (about two years)... but, we'll see! In September of this year, I was finally able to take that postponed trip to Thailand with my mother and my aunt. I just recently celebrated my 34th birthday in October with all of my friends and family, who came together to throw me the most incredible surprise party. And this month, I celebrate my one-year cancer diagnosis anniversary! I made it this far with the support of my family, my friends, and other service providers and caregivers. And, I think I still have more in me to go..."

Marisa you are an inspiration for us all and will continue to be in our prayers.  Know that we are now a part of your Cheerleader section......