Breast Cancer Survivor
The first time Alfredo met his new neighbor across the hall, he knew they were destined to be together.
Rebecca was friendly, warm and had a smile that could light up a room.
In turn, Rebecca found her new neighbor to be a true gentleman. A caring man who held the door and brought her flowers.
What neither could predict was this newfound love would soon carry them through one of the most difficult journeys of their lives.
Rebecca was only 33 years old when a mammography revealed a lump in one of her breasts was, in fact, stage 2 breast cancer.
Alfredo was the first person to find out. “He dropped everything and said, ‘It’s OK, we’re going to get through this,” recalls Rebecca.
After talking it over with Alfredo and her mom, it was unanimous that Rebecca would go to Moffitt Cancer Center, where a treatment plan would be created specifically for her.
Since Rebecca was adopted and didn’t know her family history, her oncologist recommended testing for the BRCA gene, which came back negative.
“My treatment team knew my background and they weren't letting that just go to the side,” says Rebecca, who underwent a double mastectomy and chemotherapy.
There were many days in the beginning when Rebecca remembered feeling overwhelmed and negative thoughts started to creep in.
Alfredo sat her down and gave her two options: they could just deal with everything together or get all of her friends and family involved.
“He gave me the courage to open up and let people into my journey,” says Rebecca.
It was that support team who rallied around Rebecca when she decided it was time to shave her head. Alfredo gathered some friends, served mimosas and throughout a combination of laughter and cries, Rebecca’s long, beautiful ponytail was cut off.
“Everyone was so concerned but I wanted them to know that I'm courageous, I'm strong enough to do this, “ says Rebecca.
When Rebecca’s treatment was completed, Alfredo proposed to the woman he had loved and supported since the day he saw her across the hall.
The duo is taking things one day at a time. “I just love the way things are,” says Rebecca. “I think we’re living life to the fullest.”