Juana M. is “63 years young” and has lung cancer and for her, persevering in spite of her diagnosis is key, “I try my best to remain hopeful and spread positivity although in the inside I might be dying.”
Born in Santa Ana, El Salvador Juana made her way to the United States in her early twenties in search of a better future. She dedicated 28 years of my life working at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) as part of the kitchen staff. To provide for her two children, she worked full-time in the kitchen and also cleaning inside airplanes part-time simultaneously. She is a grandmother of three granddaughters and one grandson.
“Prior to being diagnosed with lung cancer, I lived a very healthy and active lifestyle,” Juana says. “I would regularly go to the gym, go for walks at the beach, and be very independent.”
In March of this year, Juana began suffering acute pain. After nine days of extensive tests in the hospital, her doctor revealed to her she had lung cancer. This was the beginning of the pandemic and she found it challenging to get treatment and to be with her family because of her risk of COVID. But, throughout it all – the pain, the exhaustion, and the uncertainty – Juana never gave up hope.
Juana says the pandemic has impacted her life on all levels: emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Now, because of Project Angel Food, she is able to stay strong. To all the other women living with cancer, she offers these words heading into 2021, “We should keep pushing and have faith that things can get better.”
“I’ve learned that there are some very beautiful people [at Project Angel Food] that hold a lot of patience and determination to make a difference in people’s lives.” It is because of people like Juana, Project Angel Food is inspired to make sure our doors never close and no one has to miss a meal.
Project Angel Food: life-saving meals during COVID and beyond.