Memoriam Warriors

Minal’s life is an irony; while she was in college, she was involved in an organization called Camp Kesem which fundraises to host a one week long summer camp for children whose parents have had or have cancer. A few years later, she is the one with cancer (but childless)! Next, she was an aspiring Dr. Patel, MD – this dream was robbed from her after she relapsed; now she relies on her doctors for survival versus saving lives herself.

Recently graduated from university, she was living the dream in San Diego: working as a clinical research coordinator Monday through Friday and strolling along the sandy beaches on the weekends. At age 23, where many young adults set out to find their true selves, she learned that she was a cancer patient, diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma and Sertoli- Leydig. Tumors, Stage 4.

Her primal instincts were focused on self preservation while all her friends were traveling the world, moving onto higher education and doing what most early 20 year olds do- learning how to be an adult. For her, she packed her bags, moved home to Fresno, leaving and began the search for an oncologist who can treat this rare diagnosis. She left most of her friends and her career network down south, later she learned that this would contribute greatly to her withdrawal from society and loneliness.

Everything around her paused for 15 months as she entered the darkest, most isolated phase of her life-treatment. She made it, she still cannot believe how, but she did! She entered remission on August 12th, 2015- also an important date for her parents, as it was their 31st wedding anniversary. For her 25th birthday year, she set out to achieve 25 bucket list items to celebrate life and to catch up on what she missed; she successfully completed this!

With the mind set that she was going to be an outlier and she would be cancer free for the rest of her life, her 15 month remission life was shattered the day after her 26th birthday: there was a reoccurrence of the sarcoma. As she battles through the decision between quality of life versus longevity of life, she has created a new bucket list, which she is aggressively pursuing while making the best of her time in Fresno filled with smiles, laughter and overall high spirits. She hopes that the Dear Jack Foundation will be able to contribute to these good vibes!

Minal’s Life List:

  1. Go fishing with my brother
  2. Receive an honorary MD from a medical university
  3. Go skydiving with a friend
  4. Have a day where my mom makes my favorite breakfast, lunch, and dinner foods
  5. Attend a Real Madrid match at Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid, Spain with a Go-Pro on my head and have my photo taken with Cristiano Ronaldo!

  6. Meet Team USA soccer players at the March World Cup Qualifier at Avaya Stadium along with two friends with seats behind the goal post with a Go-Pro in hand
  7. Have a PJ party weekend in a big suite filled with food and movies at a hotel in my favorite city, San Diego with my best friends