Hi Karen! I'd like to nominate my mom, Diana.

On December 31, 1981, the Ruvira family was blessed with twin boys, Albert and David. We were now a family of six. These boys brought so much joy into our lives. They were such good babies, and they were especially adorable. My parents struggled financially in these days, but we (the kids) never knew we were poor. Our lives were so filled with love and happiness that money didn't seem to matter. We didn't have toys, so we invented games, and we'd play house a lot. Things were perfect... until tragedy struck like an unexpected lightning storm in the middle of the night.

David, (one of the twins), was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. Our lives were now about to drastically change. David, who was only four at the time of his diagnosis, had to undergo an amputation of his left arm, and severe chemotherapy and radiation treatments. This took a toll on his tiny body, and he was always in terrible pain.

Although it was tormenting to see him in this state, he was always very brave and optimistic. I believe he inherited these traits from my mom, Diana. The way she handled herself during this trial was unbelievable. It was as though God was right by her side, guiding her and instructing her on what to do next.

We had to drive from Baldwin Park to Children's Hospital in Los Angeles every day, and in major traffic. My mom always made this trek so much fun. She would tell us funny jokes, blast the radio and roll down all the windows so we could stick our heads out of the car and feel the wind slap against our faces. David got such a kick out of doing that. Many times, he would get so sick that he'd have to stay in the hospital, and we would stay with him. My mom wanted us to be a family unit at all times. She made even the most dreadful situations bearable with her optimism and humor. We never complained about being in the hospital, and David was always very happy to have us by his side.

I remember people always asking him what happened to his arm. He had a prosthetic arm after the amputation, and he got a lot of attention because of it. My mom saw that he was growing tired of it, so she encouraged him to make up a story to shock people so that they would get a hint to not be so intrusive. So, David thought up this wild story about a shark biting his arm off. His story grew more and more dramatic, and it got to a point where we all laughed about it. My mom knew how to encourage David to overcome and stand tall.

Something else that impresses me about my mom is that she always looked so beautiful. Even the nights that we spent in the hospital, she managed to get up before everyone else and do her hair and makeup, put her jewelry on, and dress in the cutest clothes. This may seem silly or superficial, but I think she did it out of selflessness. She wanted us to see that things could still be somewhat normal. By doing her same routine every morning, it made us feel like it was just another day. Man, I only have two kids, and there are days I don't shower until 2 or 3 p.m. I seriously don't know how my mom did it.

Unfortunately, David passed away on his sixth birthday. He went peacefully, thank God. He fought so hard, and we will never forget his strength and that gorgeous smile of his.

So, I would say that the biggest lesson my mom taught us, and a philosophy I like to live by, is : If you can't change a situation, change the way you look at it. My brother's cancer was terminal, and she knew that from the beginning. Did she allow that to destroy her and the rest of us? No, she put on her boxing gloves and gave life the battle of all time .

She continues to be the biggest influence in my life. Her beautiful outlook on life and her wisdom have changed so many lives. She is a school /community liason, and she advocates every day for students, teachers and parents. She does it with passion and pride.

My mother is my hero, and if I am half the mother and woman she is, I consider it my biggest gift.
Thank you for your time.

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