You can show up at my house any time, and it will be spotless. I love cleaning. It’s like therapy for me. If I can get a sitter, I like to go play Bingo. I know you probably think it’s an old person’s game, but you wouldn’t believe how much fun we have. 

My sister and I run a restaurant in Providence. I’m the people person and she’s the food person. That and my two kids—Demetrius, 16 and Olivia, 6— keep me very busy. So busy that I almost didn’t go to the doctor when I woke up one morning with my face all swollen.

But I did. And eventually learned that I had a very rare blood disease (first case ever in Rhode Island—not the best thing to be famous for!). Things got pretty rough, and I was ready to give up. But my family brought my daughter to the hospital for a visit and she took her first steps right there in my room. Suddenly thinking about her and my son, everything changed for me. I just said “OK God, if this is what we’re doing, then this is what we’re doing…”

I needed a kidney donor. It was the hardest thing ever for me to ask someone for something so big. But my nephew’s mother was a match, and she practically forced me to accept it! The only way I can repay her is with love. 

I loved my team at Rhode Island Hospital. They were so relaxed, I knew I was good. Now I get chemo every other Wednesday. My hair is coming back and my house is clean. You’d think I make a million dollars a day, I’m so happy.

—Monique, Providence RI