I Am More Than Cancer: Lola's main priority was her family.

Lola never allowed us to go hungry. “Lola” is Tagalog for grandma. Our family always raved about her secret recipes.  When Lola came to America, she often made a special type of Filipino cuisine.  “Escabeche,” which is a Filipino-style sweet and sour fish, was a family favorite. She made it for us right after she arrived from the airport.  We will always remember this day and the amazing meal she cooked for us.

Lola and her husband came to New York, as immigrants.  She used to care for her grandchildren, and every day, after they returned home from school, she would make her grandchildren and their friends a warm, home-cooked meal. She cared for us whenever we were sick, making us ginger tea and soup, and she massaged our aches and pains away. Lola always did her best to make sure her grandchildren grew-up to be fine people.

She was an incredible dancer as well.  She often danced along to karaoke during family occasions.  Lola was also a pro at singing songs by the Carpenters. Our living room would always be full of delicious food, lively music, and great company.  It was a room full of love; just the way she liked it. Family was always her main priority, and she made sure we celebrated any and all occasions together.

Lola was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in 2009 and was told she had a couple of months to live. It caught us all off guard. This was one of the hardest things our family ever had to hear. Everyone still remembers that day.  We all cried, but Lola told us that everything would be okay and then fed us.  Even during those difficult months, her main priority was her family. Whenever we visited her, even at the hospital and during treatments, she would ask us if we ate yet, ask what we ate, and ask if we wanted any of her food.  

Lola always put others before herself.  Our family will never forgive cancer for ‘cutting’ our time with Lola short and ‘stealing’ someone so kind and dear from us. Cancer ‘stole’ so many memories; we were supposed to make up for all the lost time while she was in the Philippines and we were in New York.

It has been almost eight years since her passing, but the smell of her cooking and her warm hugs are with us so vividly, everyday. She taught us all what is most important in life: love and family.  Our family’s love for food comes from Lola too. Most of all though, Lola taught us about the importance of spreading love and positivity to all, through our daily acts and thoughts.


ABOUT Geronima


  • Queens, NY
  • Diagnosis

    • Lung or Bronchial Cancer

    Primary Treatment

    • Chemotherapy

    Primary Cancer Center

    • Other


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