My "In Memory of" list grew by one this year.
Every year that I've participated in the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure, I've done it in honor of an amazing woman with a zeal for life, Jostelo Garces. I met Jostelo some time in Binghamton, and honestly, I'm not exactly sure how. I distinctly remember always seeing her in the a capella crowd, so it was probably then. We knew each other but we weren't super close, but we always bonded being part of the small Filipino population always hanging around the Fine Arts building. Fast forward to a few years ago, and in passing I heard that she had just finished a battle against breast cancer. Our conversations started again, and it was like we had always been in touch regardless of being years, and now states, apart. We messaged every day, and continued our conversations whether it be just casual conversation or catching up on what fabulous show or concert she was about to see next. She never hesitated. If she had the opportunity, she was going. Fast forward to June 2019, during a trip to NYC I had learned that the cancer had come back. Over our Ichiran Ramen she coolly said "I have to have chemo until it doesn't work anymore." I was floored. This woman so full of life and much more to give to the world was getting ready for the end of her journey. So when she asked me to go with her on some of it, I did not hesitate. The last time I saw Jostelo was during a quick overnight trip to the city on January 14th. She took me to the Daily Show and we stayed up until 3AM just talking and laughing. That would be the last time I would see her in person.
I was supposed to come back on March 13th to visit again, hopefully staying with her again, but COVID prevented that from happening. As COVID rampaged NYC, I checked in on her from time to time to make sure she was ok. She had her PPEs and she reassured me she was fine, even though a few weeks before she told me she was getting weaker. I got one more message from her apologizing for not reaching out, but she had been too weak to respond.
Jostelo passed away surrounded by family and friends on May 22, 2020.
Jostelo was an inspiration. She taught me not to hesitate in life. She taught me not to take anyone's crap. She taught me to be unapologetically myself. And, oh, did she teach me to LAUGH. Love you, Jostelo. Rest in Paradise.
I am participating in Memory of:
In Honor of:
This year, I registered for the Komen Race for the Cure because I wanted to take action and be More Than Pink™. I want to make an impact in the fight against breast cancer and need your help. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today in support of my fundraising efforts.
Your support helps us get one step closer to a world without breast cancer. Funds raised help support Komen’s work to save lives through breakthrough research, advocacy and to support patients, including through Komen’s Breast Care Helpline, Clinical Trial Information Helpline, Treatment Assistance Program and other direct patient support services.
Together, we are fueling the best science, boldest community and biggest impact in the fight against breast cancer. And we will not stop until this disease is gone forever. That's our promise. Will you please join me in this fight by making a donation today?
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