La and Kristen
LaK (pronounced lake) is not only inspired by the two beautiful and courageous women above, it is also named after them.
Carmela (La) Ocampo was a loving wife to my cousin Chris, and the most amazing mother to my godson Kinsey. She was caring and nurturing, fun and lighthearted, and could cut a rug like nobody’s business.
In 2011, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer and things changed very quickly. In true La fashion, she and Kinsey, wore matching Mohawk hairstyles as the effects of chemotherapy began to set in. Her smile never fading, she traveled from California to Texas seeking a cure for this debilitating disease. She wanted to be there for Chris. She wanted to watch Kinsey grow up. But like many who fight, her life cut much too short by cancer. On Mother’s Day in 2013, she lost her battle with cervical cancer, at the age of 33.
Kristen Tuason – my baby sister. In November 2007, she was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at 16. Due to the location of the tumor, she chose to undergo a below the knee amputation of her right leg. Thinking the worst was over, we remained hopeful. It would be a mixture of pain and bliss for the next 8 years – a cycle of remission and relapse. Each year we would triumphantly celebrate life with a family trip, only to be back in the OR waiting room, nervously waiting for the surgeon to tell us the results of her latest thoracotomy.
After each surgery, she would bounce back. She would smile through the pain, unconcerned about herself and ask us how we were feeling. Each year when a new growth showed up on a scan, we cried for her, but she would cry for us. Though she had the weakest body, she had the biggest heart.
On February 23, 2016, at 24, she lost her battle with Osteosarcoma. On one leg and with one lung, her accomplishments are nothing short of amazing.
Not a day goes by where I don’t think of both Carmela and Kristen. They were so brave, and we are so proud.
Watching their battles with cancer was equally heart breaking and inspiring. It taught me a valuable lesson in selflessness and compassion. Not only was I moved by La and Kristen, but by all the other children and patients fighting similar battles.
We are lucky to be here, living life to the fullest.
LaK. La and Kristen Forever.
Much Love and thanks for reading!