Joel Martinez-Cruz wrote -
NSMC Cancer WALK Tribute Book Joel Martinez, Team Chango and Rosita My best friend and I became involved in the North Shore Cancer WALK in 2013 following the death of my father and her mother from leukemia. We wanted a way to honor our parents and keep their memories alive. I’m a strong believer that our loved ones are never really gone if we don’t forget them. We ended up doing several walks that year, but the North Shore Cancer WALK turned out to be the most suitable for our healing process. It felt so right, so good. Our families are blended through our long friendship, and there was a strange symmetry that our parents died from the same kind of cancer. We all helped each other through our grieving. My friend and I were going to do the WALK alone, but once the word got out through our friends and families, we had a lot of company. Our team is named after our parents, Chango and Rosita. Chango means “black crow” and Rosita means “rose,” so we incorporate those images into our t-shirts each year along with the color orange for leukemia. Last year, we realized that our team had grown and was walking in support of many people, so now we add everyone’s names to the shirts. My favorite memory of the WALK is from 2014. My son was born two weeks earlier, and I remember bringing him and thinking that I want to do this every year. Generosity and compassion are important to my family, and the WALK is a special way to share those values with my son. Six years since we lost our loved ones, our families are healing. We know that others are hurting, and we’re always aware that it could be us tomorrow. To anyone considering participating in or supporting the WALK, I say it’s the right thing to do. Most of our fundraising is in small amounts, but it adds up and makes a real difference in peoples’ lives.