|I grew up in Chicago. If you ask anyone who has ever lived there what they think about it, they will say they adore it. Then they will immediately add, “Except for the weather.” Being born and raised in the Windy City was a great experience. There was all the entertainment and culture a person could ask for; the finest restaurants, world class architecture, legendary theaters, and some of the most beloved sports teams in America. I love my home town, but as I got older the brutal winters and muggy summers started to wear on me.
Late in high school, I had enough of the extreme midwestern climate, and as a result, I chose a college at the total opposite end of the spectrum; Arizona State University.
|As soon as I arrived in Tempe, I was very excited about my choice. I did miss the finer offerings of my home town, but the mild winters and dry summers more than made up for it. The weather was a big selling point, but it wasn’t the only reason I loved my new location. As an architecture major initially, ASU was a clear contender with its strong architecture program, although I would later switch to another program under the W.P. Carey School of Business. ASU has a well-respected scholarly reputation, so it had everything that I could ask for in a college. I made the most of my first semester, socially and academically, and I didn’t plan on slowing down any time in the future.
Then on Christmas Break of my Freshman Year, everything changed. After my wonderful first semester, I went back to Chicago for the holidays. As soon as I stepped foot back into that typical winter season, the bitter wind slapped me in the face and reminded me why I loved my new home. Shortly after I got back, I went to the doctor for my annual checkup. I was feeling fine, but I knew that I was not going to be home again anytime soon, so I just wanted to make sure that I was doing alright. The checkup seemed routine, but when she was giving me a physical exam, the doctor noticed my lymph nodes were swollen, and she ordered some follow up tests.
When the results came back, they said I had Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a form of cancer.
Initially, I was pretty shocked by the diagnosis, as anyone would be, but after talking to the doctor, she said it was very treatable with 90% survivability rates, so that put my mind at ease, a bit. Honestly, I took the whole thing in stride, all things considered. I was more bummed that I would not be able to go back to ASU for my second semester. Regardless, I knew that I had to get treatment, so I flew to Tempe, packed up my stuff and moved back to Chicago to focus on my health.
I shopped around with four or five Oncologists, but they were all much older, and had bleak and dreary offices that were a match for that gloomy Chicago winter. Finally, I found a young doctor with a bright, clean, and open office, an energetic staff, and I knew that was the right place for me. Then I spent the next six months going through chemotherapy treatment.
At this point in my story, many people are probably expecting to hear how ill and depressed I was. How I could not believe that I was sick and how I was mad at the world. This was not the case. Yes, my parents were freaked out, understandably, but I always told them that I would be alright, and deep down inside I knew I would be.
Was it fun? No. Do I want to go through it again? Of course not. Did I let cancer hold me back or drag me down? Absolutely not.
|As soon as I was diagnosed, I decided that I would not let the disease keep me from living my life. I worked thirty hours a week throughout my entire treatment, and I went to school full time at a local community college. I made up my mind as soon as I heard that dreaded diagnosis, that I was going to make it. I was going to be okay. Instead of letting it bring me down, I chose to handle it like I handled everything else in my life. I powered through it, as I had always done when faced with an obstacle. I had worked in the service industry since I was fifteen, so I just got back to it. During that time, my life was normal, but there just happened to be some medical treatments included in my schedule.|
|Needless to say, I made it through a survivor, returned to Arizona State University, and maximized the rest of my time in college until I graduated. Looking back, a lot of positive things emerged from that challenging time. First, it made me look at my life differently. I learned to never take it for granted and live every day as it comes, because you never know when it might end. I knew that I was lucky to be diagnosed with such a treatable form of the disease. Some people are not as fortunate as me, and I have the utmost respect for their fights. I learned that no one knows how they are going to function in a situation like cancer, until they are faced with it. Every person handles adversity in their own way. I am grateful I was able to work my way through my illness with a positive attitude and my head held high.
My diagnosis had a silver-lining. I learned afterwards my family had always been concerned that they were going to lose me, even though I never let myself feel that way. That period in my life brought everyone in my family together. I was the fourth of six children, and everyone was older and had grown busier. It was an opportunity for my family to come together, not only to support me, but also each other.
Surviving cancer created in me a deep ambition to advance and succeed, because there is no time to rest on my laurels. After college, I worked for an investment brokerage. A few years later, I moved to Utah, where my entire family had relocated, and I earned my Master of Business Administration (MBA). My advanced degree led me to a successful career in various roles with multiple well-known organizations. After traveling a lot for business over several years, I decided that I wanted something more local and flexible, so in the spring of 2012, I moved to California, earned my real estate license in 2015, which led me to where I am today!
|I strive to live from a place of gratitude, which has led me to get involved in the community. After the close of escrow, I donate 5 percent of my commission to the charity of my client’s choosing on their behalf. I am involved with the Sacramento SPCA, through sponsorship of monthly Yappy Hour events, and with the Sacramento LGBT Center. I donate regularly to St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as well. I feel very fortunate in life for so many reasons and feel that it is my duty to pay it forward by giving back to our communities.|
|Beating cancer and having a career I love is only part of my story. I have been married a little over a year to my husband, Steven, who is a Senior Psychologist for the California Department of Corrections, and we are in the very early stages of adopting our first child! We have two of the most lovable dogs in the world: Tank, and our puppy, Stella, who both have so much personality and keep us smiling. We are very grateful for everything the future may hold for our growing family.
Looking back, I now understand how my past has contributed to my approach as a REALTOR®. If anything, what I have been through has taught me two major lessons, work hard and enjoy life, and I get to do
|that every day in real estate. I work my absolute hardest to ensure I provide my clients with the ultimate in service and meet their needs in the process. While I enjoy putting my most into every transaction, my favorite part of my job is seeing people’s faces light up when I hand them the keys to their new home. What more can I say? I love what I do!|