LIVE.LOVE.byRicky “One day at a time” Our mission is to be a force for good in the community
LIVE.LOVE.byRicky “One day at a time” Our mission is to be a force for good in the community
No one plans to get sick with cancer, especially at a young age, but it happens every day. Cancer doesn’t discriminate and effects people of all ages and walks of life. Not everyone has medical insurance or a bank account full of money. Struggling with cancer your main focus should be to get well, to survive! Many people are not able to work because of chemotherapy, radiation, surgeries or their mental state. This is one thing that is often forgotten. Life keeps going and those affected my cancer still have to pay rent, bills and car payments while struggling to maintain special diets and alternative therapies. Bills don’t stop coming because you get sick .Yes there is some help available, but not enough to cover all expenses. The last thing a Cancer patient needs is to be stressing and struggling financially to keep up. We look to help in any small way we can. We aim to shine light on the forgotten corners of their lives.
Live.Love.byRicky is created on behalf of a woman that once lived a life and left a touch of love. On August 24, 1988, a beautiful soul was born named Raquel Perez. A strong, beautiful young woman that enjoyed her life just like any human embracing this thing we call life. Now, Ricky is Raquel’s nickname and the story behind Ricky all began back in her high school years when a few of Raquel’s close friends would test out certain nicknames up until one experience Raquel had that began it all! Now that we cannot share, but let’s just say the girls and Raquel shared a good laugh and it beautifully resonated with her sassy, yet sweet personality. Meet Ricky! A short story about Ricky’s experience that inspired us all to take this struggle and to take action, through the eyes of her beloved sister Jessica.
A common Canadian lifestyle, Ricky worked hard, attended school, dated, traveled; a single woman living and enjoying life. Never in a million years, did she ever imagine what she would go through. At a young age, Ricky noticed a little lump and when she got it checked out the doctors brushed it off as calling it, “Baby fat”. As she got older it got bigger, the second doctor said it was a cyst. When Ricky turned 27, this thing they called a cyst was getting bigger. The third doctor was concerned and carefully explained how the lump was way too big to be cyst, so the doctor then sent Ricky for an ultrasound and CT scans. It was then where our lives forever changed, a day before Halloween, a tumour was diagnosed. It was a tumour that was five cm big (the size of a lime) and her cancer was aggressive at this point. She was on the phone freaking out, extremely emotional and scared and couldn’t stop crying, questioning why her and why now. This took place for months. And considering Ricky already had a struggle with low self-esteem and depression, this tumour made everything worse. Ricky was diagnosed with High Grade Triple Negative Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, an aggressive form of breast cancer.
A few months had passed, Ricky built the strength and courage to decide that she would fight through it all with all she had. She became angry; doctors gave her two options: six months with no chemotherapy and five years with chemotherapy. They gave her no hope and suggested to remove her breasts and ovaries. What would be left, she thought and then made an ultimate decision to not give up and to fight through it regardless in hopes of becoming a mother one day. She had the tumour removed with addition of twenty-two lymph nodes. Shortly after, we found out that the cancer had travelled to her liver which led Ricky to chemo and began naturopathy as an alternative. This was the part that became a turning point not just for Ricky only, but to all of us as well. We transformed our lives, it became a lifestyle. We became healthy eaters and used natural alternatives. For example, our home became a chemical free environment, such as, cleaning products, personal care, make up, creams, etc. Considering how much of a sugar addict Ricky was and constantly using chemical products for personal care, this was a major progress! We practiced this healthy alternative lifestyle a day at a time, step by step, and successfully changed our lives for the better. At this point, the chemo was going well and Ricky decided to stop it while she travelled. She flew to a nice little getaway in the middle of the jungle in Ecuador, South America. She spent two months living as natural as possible with a shaman, where he provided exotic jungle cocktails and clean organic meals. This was a wonderful experience for Ricky, not only was it cleansing and healing her body and mind, it also cleansed and healed her spiritually. When she returned home, Ricky was shining! She had this glow; she had a strong vibrant light around her. She was ready to continue to fight this battle.
One day, while I was painting a canvas, Ricky and I shared a conversation that lit up a light bulb. A wishful thought I had shared with Ricky was how I would love to sell my paintings and donate my art work for a good cause. She always had an enormous giving heart and began expressing how grateful she was to have all of us supporting her, emotionally and financially. She began to share how she would feel if she didn’t have her family and friends to support her through this journey and imagined what that would be like, “This lifestyle cost a lot of money.” Life still continued for Ricky, her life didn’t stop because she had cancer. Bills still had to be paid, Ricky still had to pay for rent and at this point she wasn’t able to work. We all worked together and supported her to make all this healthy lifestyle happen for her, from coping with her battle to maintaining her mental health. And to maintain this healthy lifestyle of natural and organic alternatives, it was very expensive of course. It adds up. She then shared an idea with me about how great it would be if we could sell all these beautiful items to use the money to give to those who need it like herself. Who are sick and need the support because they may not have the resource, family, insurance, or energy to create that healthy lifestyle or to have the mindset to even continue to maintain it all. The struggle gets heavy and may feel discouraging at times. Even though there is help, it’s just not enough. Realistically speaking, this lifestyle improvement requires one to maintain it all with consistency. A person that is battling an extreme sickness should not be stressing about all of this, nonetheless, only focusing on how to fight the condition and continuing to live a normal ‘stress-free’ life.
After this long heart to heart conversation, I saw how happy it made my sister, in which I have not seen her that happy in a long time. Without thinking, I immediately told her yes! We would do all of it, and she would be involved just as her very own project and to think of a name. Unfortunately, her cancer was progressing to the bones and lungs at this point. A few months after, she finally made the decision to shave off all of her hair on her head. That was a tough experience, but she still held strong. Ricky continued to fight through the battle, she tried her best to keep a positive mindset, and engage in great group gatherings. She was so brave, continued to rise above it all and grown so much from this battle. She had to let go and release a lot emotional baggage that was heavy on her soul. She was coming to her senses that this evil cancer was growing rapidly and finally accepting the fact that it will eventually take over completely, that she would have to leave us one day. Ricky was no longer scared or angry, but more so sad, she didn’t want to leave us so soon. She was a daughter, a friend, an aunt, a sister, a part of everyone’s lives. Her nieces and nephews loved their Tia so much! She couldn’t imagine how we would all feel. It broke her heart the most.
Time became a companion with us and with her journey. She did not let anything come further between her way and the time she had. Ricky looked fabulous, considering she had so much pain. Nothing stopped her. She continued to take extra care of herself, from eating healthy, to sleeping well, practicing breathing techniques, using vitamins and supplements to maintain, and essential oils for day to day uses. She continued and she did it all with love, lots of love.
As the autumn months were approaching us, Ricky made the most out of it. On October 29, 2017, Ricky got tickets for a concert and not just any concert, we went to see the Guns and Roses of course which was her first rock concert ever to experience. Considering she was in so much pain, we still encouraged each other, dolled ourselves up and had a blast that night. On October 31, 2017 we got dressed for Halloween just as any other year. Ricky looked beautiful; she dressed as Ariel from the little mermaid. We took the kids out for trick or treating and shared a magical fun night of laughter and a photo-shoot lol. Weeks later, on November 20 2017, her last result came through and the chemo had stopped working. The cancer had taken over her body and at this point Ricky was weak, it was pointless to even try a different type of chemo as the hospital also had no other options as well. After a good cry at the hospital, Ricky made the decision to come home. She didn’t want to spend more days at the hospital, she just wanted to live her last days with her loved ones in the comfort of her home. The doctors had given her less than two weeks, Ricky was ready for her transition. When Ricky came home, Christmas was early in our home as well; even though it wasn’t December yet, it was her favourite time of the year. So we built a Christmas tree to share her joy one last time. She had requested a white Christmas tree, she was so happy. As days passed, I had sent out a final update to all her friends and family and welcomed everyone who wished to spend their time once more as Ricky was not able to move or talk much at this point. It was so beautiful and touched my heart to see how much love the family and friends shared during this part of her journey as well. They never left her side; we all shared a loving moment with her. We cried, we laughed, we prayed, we watched her eat and everyday was a treat for Ricky; she ate whatever she wanted. She was at her ultimate peace.
The afternoon of December 4, 2017 was special as I held her hand while she was staring at me and gave me a beautiful big smile, I was moved. That night we brought Christmas in her room, we decorated her room with lights, got a little Christmas tree, and all her loved ones were next to her. It was very magical and peaceful as she stared gently at the lights in the tree. She passed away almost at midnight, she stopped breathing; no pain, no suffering on December 5 2017. Her last word was “Ya!” “Spanish “In translation that meant she was ready. Ricky lived longer than what the doctors said, she helped herself with natural supplements, natural painkillers, had a good organic diet, stress-free lifestyle all about in 3 years.
“Despite it all, she remains strong, brave, positive, courageous and determined to beat this! She does it all with the help of her wonderful, Mother, sister, brothers and family who has been by her side the most throughout this unanticipated circumstance.” – Ricky’s friends that gave it all for her, strong emotional support team.
This painful, yet learning experience has opened our eyes of the heart. Raquel’s soul is forever alive and has left a sparkle in our hearts that is inspiring our passion to help those who are in need as well. She was so happy to help people, especially young souls. They still have a life, regardless what their battle or condition is, they still deserve to live each day as anyone waking up in the morning and starting their routine, if anything even more. Ricky was very fortunate to have so much support from her dearest family, all her friends and all the new friends she met while on her journey. We love you Ricky, thank you for living your life and setting an example to us all that will forever live.
August 24, 1988 – December 5, 2017
Written By Hala Jajo
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Are non profit corporation is organised exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. No part of the net earnings of the corporation shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributed to its members, trustees, officers, or other private persons.LIVE.LOVE.BY RICKY Is a non-profit dedicated to helping individuals fighting cancer and mental health support. We are committed to providing financial help and guidance, gift cards, monetary gifts for wellness programs, travel expenses, healthy diets ideas. Our organization will provide them with guidance and resources for natural treatments, alternatives, community programs and mental health supports. We will accept donations; we will raise money for the non-profit by donations sales, bracelets, t-shirts, arts, and creams. Monthly Events will also be part of raising money to help cancer fighting patients.