— PERSONAL STORY —
(Photo Credit: Tyler Babin)
I considered whether or not I should include this portion. I am inherently cautious about what I put out there for the Internet to see and claim opinions of. However, my life has recently been defined by extremely personal events and because these events have affected so much of who I am and changed me drastically,
I’ve decided that it’s crucial to include them.
In September 2016, I fell in love with a man who I immediately recognized to be my soul mate. We were completely smitten, despite knowing each other from high school and rarely crossing paths. Matthew Vincent Pearson Iaria promised to marry me and in the upcoming future months, we developed plans to move in together and get married.
On December 9, 2016, at just 25 years old, he died from complications of esophageal cancer. Because of this tragic but undoubtedly beautiful love story of ours, I have subsequently become an advocate for raising awareness and funds in the interest of researching rare cancers, specifically gastrointestinal cancer of the lower tract.
At Matthew’s funeral, I gave a eulogy, which you can read here. When his former oncologists at Cornell University notified me of his accomplishments in the world of gastrointestinal cancer treatments, I wrote an essay entitled, “My Boyfriend’s Cancer Will Make You Rethink Everything You Know About the Term ‘Legacy.’”
Please, if you have a moment, read these two essays and I implore you to share with someone – anyone – whom you think would benefit from learning about our story. Also, it would mean a lot to the Iaria family and I if you would please consider donating to Sloan Kettering.