There is family that you are born into, family that you choose and sometimes even coworkers that become family. In 2014, I had the pleasure of hiring Elisa Guaqueta as an HR Generalist. We quickly developed a strong professional and personal relationship.
As a co-worker, Elisa is motivated, collegial, repectful, and above all a team-player; always willing to pitch in and lend a helping hand. As a friend, she is all those things, not to mention being caring, kind and thoughtful.
In February 2017 we learned that Elisa's mom, Maria Guaqueta, had been diagnosed with stage four non-small cell lung cancer. As the rock of the family, it was a devasting blow to all. Maria's strength, courage and humor has kept everyone going, but she and the family have a long road ahead. To help them through treatment, Elisa given up her apartment in NYC and moved back home to Long Island; just one example of how selfless she is. As a woman who recently lost her mother, I know all too well the emotions she and her family are facing, and as coworker and friend, I knew I needed to help - just like Elisa would help any one of her friends. Below, Elisa shares some fond words of her Mom:
"Our Mom is the kind of woman that was born to be a mommy –John Paul, Michael, and I definitely hit the “Mom Lottery” with her and we know it! Mom is the life of the party, peacemaker, chief operating officer, and backbone of our family. Our Mom is the strongest person we know – so strong in fact that in January 2017 she dismissed and worked through painful headaches that she had been experiencing for a month before deciding to get it checked out. Those headaches, we came to find out, were three tumors that had spread to her brain and ultimately resulted in a Stage 4 lung cancer diagnosis. Suddenly,our very own Super Woman found herself in need of rescuing. As our Mom is a lifelong never-smoker, we are all confused, broken up, and angry at the predicament that we find ourselves in. And yet, true to form, Mom, of all people, is the woman reminding us to keep our heads up, giving us the strength to move forward, and inspiring us to remain positive. Dad tells the story of the day we found out about Mom’s diagnosis: the doctors had finished explaining what Mom was up against and what the initial treatment plan might be and, as Dad’s eyes start to well up, Mom looks at him and says – so matter-of-factly –“Why are you crying? I’m going to fight this.” And, just like that, she had resolved to not let cancer bring her down. This is classic Mom, the eternal optimist and problem solver. We weren’t in the room that day, but we could hear her say those words and we have never been prouder. Mom’s lung cancer has spread to her brain, her spine, and her hip. She has a long road ahead of her, but she still manages to find so much happiness in every day. Her passion for life, love of those around her, and courage in the face of adversity are extraordinary. She is truly our inspiration in every sense of the word. We are eternally grateful for the love and support we’ve experienced from so many thoughtful and generous people along the way. Thank you"
Elisa's parents live a modest but fulfilling life, always putting their three children first. The medical expenses have been adding up and its our turn to help.