The Thriver: Maria Luisa Gonzalez-Crespo
Issue 3's "Thriver" is Maria Luisa Gonzalez-Crespo from Courage for the soul.

As told to Britt Julious

I remember receiving the call, and you know right there.

She said the results of the biopsy came out positive with cancer. She asked me to come with someone, [but] my husband was actually on a trip and he was not here, so I immediately called my sister.

When she said [I was] positive, stage III, for a few seconds, everything stopped. I no longer heard anything else. I literally don’t remember anything else. Thank God my sister was there with me. All I could think of was my daughter, my husband, my family. I just felt like I’m not done. There’s so much that I still want to do [and] want to see. I want to see my daughter grow and watch her achieve her goals.

What does courage mean to me? To me, it’s more than something that comes from your gut. It’s something that you do.

What does courage mean to me? To me, it’s more than something that comes from your gut. It’s something that you do. Not everyone is ready to share their truth. It’s the act that comes from the deepest part of your being that allows you to do things that are challenging and positive at the same time.

When I finished my treatment, we had a big celebration, and I asked my friends and family to bring scarves. I wanted to take them to the hospital and gift them. I gave my first scarf to a woman I met at a support group. When I started looking at the pictures of my reactions to the scarves I received, I wondered what [other] women actually feel like when they get a scarf. I wanted a name for this project, and all I remembered was the word “courage.” Everything my friends and family gave me was just a lot of encouragement that lifted my soul. So I came up with my nonprofit Courage for the Soul, and that’s exactly what I got. I got so much encouragement to get through my journey. I wanted to be able to pass it on, give it back, because if I felt this way, I knew that I was not the only one.

I’m just taking it one day at a time, one week at a time, one month at a time. It’s something, to be honest, that doesn’t sit well with me, but I’m learning to adapt. And I’m accepting that it’s okay. This is where I’m at right now. It is not going to be forever.


Clean Beauty

Stop Fueling Self-Doubt

Social media empowers and connects us to our community but can also reinforce societal beauty standards and pressures that perpetuate self-doubt.

Read More »
(Y)our Stories

A Sunny Outlook

Claudia “Sunny” Hayes was diagnosed with breast cancer at just 25 years old. A new business owner, her rigorous treatment schedule almost ruined everything she had worked for, but maintaining positivity and a renewed focus on her goals allowed her to create a new kind of success story.

Read More »
(Y)our Stories

Learning to Live

Rhonda Meckstroth knows all too well how important it is to receive a second opinion—it saved her husband Jeff during his unexpected lung cancer diagnosis in their small rural Ohio community. Now they’re fighting for other families to have the same second shot at life.

Read More »
(Y)our Stories

The Best Medicine

We celebrate the life and laughter of Miss Nikki, a Chicago-based stand-up comedian who fought and lost her battle with breast cancer.

Read More »
(Y)our Stories

On the Way to Wellness

Robb Leone, president and cofounder of BIÂN, follows up with Cancer Wellness about his journey with leukemia and the many things for which he’s grateful.

Read More »