Honoring Houston’s Heroes {Celina’s Story}

“Motherhood is a lifelong promise to protect and fight for your child. For some mothers, the greatest fight isn’t their own; it’s helping their child battle cancer.” – Northwestern Mutual

Mother’s Day has come and gone, and after so much build up and anticipation, it almost seems surreal.  For weeks it seemed to be all anyone could talk about – it was in every social media post, displayed in every storefront, and on every piece of paper that came our way.  And while I certainly basked in the royal treatment on Sunday and soaked up every sweet “Happy Mother’s Day!” from my two little ones, I still feel like there is so much celebrating to be done.  No, not for myself, but for all of the unsung heroes that surround me.

Like the mom I saw braving the strong winds and rain this week with an infant carrier strapped to her chest, a toddler by her side, and a million odds and ends in hand, just to ensure her child got to school on time.  Or the mom I saw at the park today, simultaneously swinging her child with special needs while also encouraging her other child as he courageously made his way across the monkey bars.  Or Melissa, or Carrie, or all of the other moms who are selflessly walking alongside their children as they fight childhood cancer.  I want to celebrate these moms every day, every month, every year.  And I am beyond thankful for partners like Northwestern Mutual who share this motivation to celebrate and honor moms too.  {In case you might have missed it, the Northwestern Mutual Foundation made a $50,000 donation to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation in honor of all of the heroic moms across the country this Mother’s Day.  How amazing is that?!}

So as we close out our series today, I am so privileged to share with you the story of another Houston hero… Celina.

Honoring Houston's Heroes - Celina 1

Celina and her husband Ruben were over the moon when they learned that they were expecting their sixth little bundle of joy – Angelina, their fifth girl and youngest child by nine years.  But in January 2016, their spunky nine year old daughter became ill overnight, and Celina rushed her to the ER where she was then transferred to Texas Children’s Hospital and soon diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia {ALL}.

As anyone might imagine, the news came as a total shock to Celina, Ruben, and especially Angelina.  No one was expecting something like this to happen to their family, and the flood of emotions are still so raw for each of them.  But when I had a chance to chat with them and hear their story firsthand, I could tell that the love this family has for each other runs deeper than a diagnosis or treatment or even cancer itself.

This family sticks together.  Through the good, through the mundane, and especially through life’s challenges.  So when they got the diagnosis that the youngest member of their family would be fighting the biggest fight of her life, everyone rallied together to provide unending support and strength.  Ruben, the provider for the family, is continuing to do whatever it takes and provide whatever his family needs.  And Celina, the heart of the family and caregiver to them all, hasn’t wavered in her role and is there to meet everyone’s needs no matter the time or day.

I can tell in their voices that these past few months have been difficult, but I can also tell that it has brought this tight-knit family even closer together than before.  And while Celina knows she has a long road ahead of her, she also knows that her daughter is in the absolute best hands right here in Houston.  Angelina has already been so brave, and her faith is so strong.  Plus, she has an amazing Houston hero by her side … her mom.

Honoring Houston's Heroes - Celina 2

Although Mother’s Day 2016 may now be in the past, let’s continue to lift each other up, celebrate one another, and honor the heroes all around you.  There is no reason for Mother’s Day to only come once a year when we can celebrate this journey all year long!

Be sure to visit Northwestern Mutual on Facebook to read more stories of the heroic moms of childhood cancer patients and learn about their efforts to impact the fight against childhood cancer.  We are in awe of all that they are doing, and we know you will be too!

Learn more at NorthwesternMutual.Com


Please Note :: We are so thankful to Northwestern Mutual for sponsoring this series and allowing us the opportunity to highlight three very special local moms.  We are honored to come alongside their efforts to raise awareness for childhood cancer, and all thoughts and opinions included are proudly our own.

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