To explain this “Giving Space” initiative really entails me sharing who I am, what I went through, why this is important to me, and what I hope to accomplish with this project. I was not born in this great country. I was born and lived in Quito, Ecuador until I was 11 years old. At that point I was diagnosed with a brain tumor and at that time no one knew what could happen or what type of tumor it was. What my parents did know was that this brain tumor was very serious and if I did not receive the best care and treatment I may not have lived to be a teenager. My parents uprooted and moved to the United States to ensure I received the best treatment possible. My family had a good comfortable life in Ecuador and when they came to this country their prospects were limited. We lived in a two bedroom mobile home with relatives, which accommodated a total of 10 people. Space was cramped to say the least but my family and I were thankful to have a roof over our heads and a safe space in this wonderful country. The care and surgeries that I received to treat my cancer were expensive but my family incurred no cost for this care, and again we were thankful for this country making space to help me attain better health. I survived and have endured some good times, some great times, and some-times that were not so great- but I have been grateful for the space that I have been afforded in this country to find my way and prosper. I have now found myself in a position where I am able to help others in need by giving them a safe and welcoming space where they can find their way and prosper.
"You fought for me. You welcomed me. Now I fight for you. Now I welcome you. This is my way of saying thank you. This is my way of saying thanks for being you." – Juan Esteban Viteri