Raquel Coronell Uribe, the first Latina president of the Harvard Crimson, has been faced with changes since she was a little girl.
Emigrating from Colombia to Miami, Florida when she was just six years old, she’s experienced the sometimes-unjust nature of life. Yet, it’s built her up to become the woman she is today. She’s also become an inspiration for many Latinas.
Her might, without a doubt, started forming when she was forced out of her home country with her parents, two esteemed journalists from Colombia, who were sent death threats in response to her father’s investigative journalism.
Raquel Coronell Uribe writes about her situation in The Crimson
Being an immigrant and being immersed in an unfamiliar subset of cultures can be intimidating. As a Colombian immigrant who happened to land in Miami, Florida in the 90s, I can attest to this. Nonetheless, Uribe carried on as most kids do. However, according to her latest piece in the Crimson, at age 16 she was diagnosed with leukemia.
“I was 16 when I traded in my school uniform for a coarse hospital gown,” Uribe writes.
To everyone’s pleasure, she beat cancer and navigated through life as best as she knew. From being nationally recognized for her role in the Crimson to thriving at Harvard, it is evident that Uribe is making the most out of her life – as she and everyone should.
Now, as she leads the United States’ oldest newspaper, she’s written a rather personal essay where she announces that her cancer has returned.
In December I celebrated 5 years of finishing cancer treatment — a milestone that meant the cancer was unlikely to return.
Last week, I learned the cancer is back.
I tried to write about what it’s felt like. https://t.co/A0CS7CbrXq
— Raquel Coronell Uribe (@raquelco15) January 9, 2023
The Crimson’s president hit the five-year mark since the end of her last treatment in December of 2022. And, even though the chances of relapsing after five years are statistically low, a slim chance exists.
Uribe writes that when she went home for winter break, she visited her longtime oncologist – and now family friend – Dr. De Angulo. They ran a few tests, one that included a bone marrow aspiration.
“When he thought I wasn’t looking, I saw his eyes water from the corner of my own.”
The doctor later confirmed the unfortunate news that cancer had, indeed, come back.
In the essay, she questions how to write about illness and the emotions that follow this type of news. But, as you can imagine, it’s a complex situation – one where words sometimes aren’t enough.
She ended her essay by writing that she didn’t have “a neat conclusion to offer – no inspiration words, no promise that ‘everything happens for a reason,’ no certainty that after all of this, I’ll come out stronger on the other side.”
“I was born on a day when God was sick. Maybe he was battling with himself, then, too,” she added.
According to her essay, today is the day she embarks on the journey to recovery again. She will undergo chemotherapy for two years. Let’s make sure she knows that we will support her as much as we can as she navigates this new challenge.
Raquel, te deseamos una pronta recuperación.