My name is Giuliana Opalenik, and as many of you may have noticed, I’ve recently joined as a copywriting volunteer at Dance for the Cure. While I’ve written several blog posts for DFC over the past few months, this one hits particularly close to home, and I find myself scatterbrained as I try to navigate where to begin.
On May 3rd, 2022, my cousin, Rosalinda Giles, “lost” her battle with Metastatic Breast Cancer. She was 40 years old.
I’ve written the word lost in quotation marks because she truly did not lose. Linda was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018 and was in remission until May of 2021, which is when she was diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer. Since the beginning, she fought harder than anyone I have ever seen, and eventually rose higher than this awful disease, winning her wings, as well as an eternity of health and happiness. She passed on surrounded by family and friends in the comfort of her own home, which was all she had ever wanted. We may have physically lost her from being on this earth with us, but she won the battle of life.
Rosalinda was the older cousin that I looked up to and wanted to be just like when I grew up, and that is true to this day. It seemed that Rosalinda had it all together, all the time, even throughout treatment. She touched the lives of so many, raised two wonderful children, and did it all while fighting like a boss. When I decided I wanted to take a different career path, she encouraged me to do what gave me the most happiness and to ignore anyone who said otherwise. Her contagious smile and laugh never failed to light up a room.
Even in the days that she lacked strength, she showed up. She showed up to her children’s events, family gatherings, birthday parties. She always showed up. The last time I saw her (before she was put on hospice) was at our grandmother’s house. It was our grandma’s birthday, and she made sure to pay her a visit.
As drained as you could tell she was, and with a tank of oxygen by her side, she showed up with a smile on her face.
We sat at the kitchen table and discussed my writing for Dance for the Cure. She said that she’d noticed the posts I’d been writing, and when I could not remember the most recent one I had written, she remembered it for me. It had been sent out just a few days prior to seeing her, and she made sure to read it. To many, emails containing blog posts get left unread in inboxes, but she made it a point to read each one sent from DFC.
As ill as she had gotten, she continued to look out for others before herself. A week before her passing, she sent a loved one pastries, flowers, and a card with a handwritten note in it because they had just gotten surgery.
The day before she passed, she was sent home from the hospital and my family went over her house to visit. Without the ability to walk and with complete exhaustion taking over, she still managed to ask my dad if he wanted a cup of coffee and was cracking jokes.
Rosalinda always expressed her love for Dance for the Cure and encouraged others to attend Ribbons of Hope and donate. Since DFC had been so supportive of her and her family when she was first diagnosed, she had made it her mission to pay it forward. In December of 20