Jesús, en ti confio. Jesus, I trust in you. My little sister’s favorite words echo in my head, immediately generating a surge of strength and energy that electrifies me from head to toe. The phrase fosters hope in my mind, courage in my heart, and confidence in my right foot as I step up to the penalty shot. Jesús, en ti confio. Heart beating, sweat dripping, and all eyes are on me. I’m looking up to the sky when the whistle blows, giving me the green light to shoot. I hadn’t scored all season, but this was the kick that would change it all. Jesús, en ti confio.
In December of 2012, my 6-year-old sister, Christina, was diagnosed with stage 4 Rhabdomyosarcoma and given only a few weeks to live. While my family and I were devastated, my sister remained calm, saying, Jesús, en ti confio before every chemotherapy and radiation treatment. My Mom started a Facebook prayer page in Christina’s name that featured videos of my sister – with her effervescent smile and youthful voice – reminding everyone to be strong and to never forget to say, Jesús, en ti confio.
There are many inspiring stories I can tell you about my sister, but the most impactful one speaks for the rest and can be recounted in a single quote: “Dad, you don’t have to pray for my cancer to go away. My cancer has brought so many people closer to God. I have a good cancer!” Christina’s optimism, selflessness and sheer will overpowered the weakness she felt in her body for five more years until she finally rested in January of 2018.
While living with someone battling a life-threatening illness has taught me to cherish every moment, the way my sister reacted to her misfortunes enabled me to develop an entirely new perspective on life, which is the following:
You may not be able to control which challenges life throws at you. You do, however, have full command over how you perceive and react to each challenge.
Whereas in the past I coped with my difficulties by complaining, Christina taught me how to welcome adversity with open arms, viewing it as a chance to build character and develop a refined ability to persevere. She showed me how, when faced with any of my fears, to be thankful for this opportunity to improve, to transmute the negative energy in my favor, to get up, to keep fighting, to push forward – to say, Jesús, en ti confio.
I shoot the ball bottom-right and the crowd unleashes an earthquake in the bleachers. The goalie lies prone on the goal line, hugging the ball dearly, never wanting to release it again. My teammates groan behind me, saying things that are all but supportive. A bullet of frustration penetrates my chest, millimeters away from piercing an unrecoverable hole in my heart and one blow away from launching me back into the abyss of insecurity that I had tried for so long to crawl out of. The wound is bound to lead to my demise as it begins draining me of each and every drop of courage left in my blood and my muscles start imploring my brain to accept defeat – when suddenly, I remember my sister’s favorite words: Jesús, en ti confio. Jesus, I trust in you. Immediately, a passionate fire is ignited within my body, fueled by the residue gunpowder of the very bullet that started it all. My spirits are raised by the blazing air and the heat of redemption re-energizes me, smelting a fresh, tougher layer of skin over my newfound wound, and so, an improved version of me rises from the flames.
David Dangond was born in Boston, MA and is the brother of our founder, Christina Dangond. In 2019, he graduated from Weston High School in Weston, MA. David is currently in his senior year at the University of California, Berkeley where he is majoring in Bio Engineering.