As I approach the official mid-point in my life here on Earth...I find myself lost of words. But I've decided to share a few facts about myself that you may not know. I was born in Miami in 1975. We moved to NYC at 5 years old when my parents separated. A year later, my life turned upside down with the news of my fathers murder. I grew up in the streets of Spanish Harlem but raised in the projects of East River Housing. East River was the epicenter of the crack-cocaine era in the 1980's. The floors riddled with what looked like colorful skittles but were in fact colorful crack tops of all over the streets. My fathers death took a toll on my mother, one that led her from cocaine to eventually heroin addiction. There were no parents at home...just me and my sister. Many hungry nights spent rummaging through the cabinets in search of food. Government sponsored blocks of cheese were god-sent and powdered milk kept us alive. Life wasn't easy...but we didn't know any better. At 11 years old, I played with my friends in the snow tackle football. After the game, I went home and slept for almost 3 straight days. My mothers best friend came over one day, saw me sleeping...put her hand on my forehead and looked into my eyes and demanded that my mother take me to the hospital. I was admitted and left in the hospital for almost 4 months without being given a diagnosis. After 6 months of poking and prodding...I was given a biopsy and diagnosed with an advanced stage of Cancer. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center would become my home for the next 13 months as I underwent many surgeries and chemotherapy treatments to save my young life. At 13, I had my last treatment and was officially in remission. My grandmother was my best friend. She lived in NYC for 6 months and in Puerto Rico for 6 months. She had to go back and fourth because she suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis. When I was being treated for cancer, she made a promise to god and cut her hair off. It's a latin thing, called "a promesa". She was the love of my life...the backbone of the family. A year later on the first snowy day in December 1989, she was struck by a van in a hit and run that would take her life. At this point in my life...where do I go, what do I do...what did I do to deserve all this pain and suffering? fast forward 3 years later, I'm 17 years old. My sister was hanging out with a friend in a nearby park when she was randomly shot 3 times....thank god she survived.....(to be continued in my memoir)
I have no regrets and wouldn't change my past. The trials and tribulations have created who I am today. I have reached the mid-point in my life today. I intend to challenge life in the greatest capacity that my mind and body will allow. I am honored to be alive to share this story with you. I will make you proud of me and intend to leave a lasting legacy before I leave this earth. All of you are the fuel that drives my passion. I'm truly blessed. Thank you for believing in me and continue to do so, because I can promise you this...I'm going to make the next 40 years an incredible journey that will not only inspire the masses, but leave a positive legacy for all to remember. ITS MY BIRTHDAYYYYYYYYYY!!! I LOVE YOU ALL!