MIAMI (CBS4) – Millions of women will paint the world in pink this month, as a part of their support for the women battling breast cancer, and to the ones who lost their battle worldwide.
One of the many survivors is Arleen Perez, the sister of CBS 4 Anchor Eliott Rodriguez. He has described is sister as, “the strongest person he knows.”
Arleen’s battle with breast cancer began 20 years ago. She was diagnosed shortly after having her first child in 1991.
“The first time I was diagnosed my son was 6 weeks old and I was like, ‘God, why are you giving me a baby if you are going to take my life?’ I said, ‘No, I want to see him take his first step. I want to be there for his communion and graduation… and I have been,” Arleen recounted as she spoke with her brother.
Arleen had always been a provider for her family, working full-time at a law office while juggling doctor’s appointments, and treatments. She’s undergone chemotherapy, radiation, and even a double mastectomy three years ago. Through it all, he kept a positive attitude.
“I had 10 wigs,” said Perez. “Even the kids said, mom my friends saw you with long hair one day and short the next and visa versa, and I said yeah.”
While Arleen was fighting breast cancer, she met a special person along the way, and the two realized they had something in common. Not only did the two fight the same battle, but they shared the same name.
The two Arleens met through a teacher at the school their children attended and connected with one another immediately.
Arleen Gamazo was diagnosed after Arleen Perez, but had her double mastectomy earlier, in 2001.
The two motivated one another through treatments, even giving one another support and advice throughout the process.
“I love her like the sister I never had, ” Gamazo told Rodriguez.
When Eliott thought back to the time they were growing up, he always remembered seeing his sister as a fragile little girl. That turned out to be a shock as he witnessed her battle with breast cancer.
“Shes tough as nails, just like her friend with the same battle and the same first name,” said Rodriguez.
And when asked about the best way to fight breast cancer, Arleen Perez simply replied by saying,”Don’t think negative, think positive, if you do the right thing, things will turn out good.”