As Valentines Day approaches, we wanted to share with you a special LIVESTRONG love story with you. We had the pleasure of meeting Mauricio Ortega and Claudia Lopez at last year’s Team LIVESTRONG Challenge in Philadelphia and were struck by their story of strength, perseverance, and love.
An interview with Mauricio Ortega:
How have you been affected by cancer?
We both have been affected by Cancer in different ways. Claudia was diagnosed back in September 2010 with breast cancer, she underwent a double mastectomy, chemotherapy treatments and radiation therapies. She finished treatments in July 2011, and she still waiting to finish her reconstruction. I was diagnosed with testicular cancer back in Feb 13 2008 and underwent chemo treatments and radiation treatments my cancer metastasis to other part of my body double orchiectomy and prosthesis done at the same time and finally after 5 years fighting, I received the great news that, as of February 3rd, I am clear of cancer.
How did you meet?
We met through the LIVESTRONG Foundation’s Facebook Page. I posted a note asking for help as I was being diagnosed for a second time and I was afraid of going through cancer and chemo again. Claudia replied to the post stating that she just had her first chemo and offered her support. We began to talk through Facebook messages and then we exchanged phone numbers. We became really good friends. After 6 months, we decided to meet in person. We were living in different states, but started a long distance relationship and fell in love. That connection comes from our understanding of what it is to have, to fight and survive cancer. We overcame our fears together and now we are engaged.
What does LIVESTRONG Mean to You?
To us, LIVESTRONG means hope and help. The Facebook page is a place where we can find inspirational stories. All the stories from survivors mean so much to us because it reminds us that we are not alone. There are many cancer heroes out there – some of these heroes are in heaven, some are still here on earth, but all have been in our shoes. LIVESTRONG is our daily motto.
Name one piece of advice you would give other couples facing cancer together?
Never give up. Always stay together. Love each other unconditionally. It’s easier to fight when someone is helping you to stand up no matter how many times you are knocked out to the floor. Face your fears together and your love will only get stronger.
This Valentine’s Day, share this story with someone you love and help people affected by cancer. When you buy flowers from our new partners at FTD.com this week, you’ll receive a 20% discount sitewide, and you’ll be helping cancer survivors like Claudia and Mauricio.