I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and attended Fairfax High school and San Diego State University. In 1996, I began my career in Housing for Low Income Families and individuals. Eventually, I worked my way up to Management and became the Manager of the Property Management for a small, but popular Non-Profit Development/Property Management Company, in the small homeless community of Skid Row. My department was responsible for the management and maintenance of all housing units for the most vulnerable segment of the population. I took pride in my job and enjoyed my staff and residents and understood their personal struggles. It was our job to house them and help them stay housed.
Overall, I was a healthy child into my teen years and young adult life. I had some minor illnesses here and there, but for the most part I lived a healthy, vibrant life. Then in 2006, I was diagnosed with an Autoimmune Disease, called Crohn's Disease, which, unfortunately, had gone undiagnosed for almost ten years. I did not receive the proper treatment and the condition became progressively worse quickly after receiving the final diagnosis.
One Friday afternoon, while at work. I felt like I was experiencing a flare of my Crohn’s Disease so I decided to take myself to the emergency room that evening. That was the beginning of my trips to emergency room and finally ending up at the E.R. Six hours later and after many tests, I was admitted to the hospital. Two days later I was told I needed a Liver Transplant. I became critically ill immediately and was moved to the top of the transplant wait list because that was the only way I would survive. I was placed in a medically induced coma and ventilator while my family waited anxiously for news of a donated liver. On the day all hopes were lost and I was supposed to be removed from the ventilator, an organ donor was found and I received a liver transplant. It was August 9, 2010.
After my transplant, I began working tirelessly with Donate Life to raise awareness and promote their organ donation program. I was also a Transplant Ambassador for Cedars-Sinai. I became engaged with the liver community in Los Angeles. My Walk team “Delivering Hope” has walked in support of liver patients for the last eight years and I have raised funds to help liver patients and the research on liver diseases. Currently, I am involved in educating my community on the need for organ donation and what it means to save many lives by saying Yes to organ donation and having that pink dot on your license or identification card. This pink dot goes a long way!
As of lately, I have volunteered as a Liver Transplant Ambassador at Cedars-Sinai, where I can provide support and encouragement to liver patients and their families who are waiting for a transplant. I am approaching my 13th year anniversary since my transplant and want to continue making good things happen for others. I am excited to help Liver Health Foundation to raise awareness of liver disease.