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Posted March 24, 2020

HERO STORY

MONICA GAUTAM: A LEGACY OF GIVING

Before her life was tragically cut short by cancer, Monica Gautam was a highly successful woman. She earned an Economics Honors Degree in her native India, had a burgeoning career in the tech industry in the U.S., and was greatly respected and admired by her peers. But Monica’s greatest life success was in her generous spirit.

“When we were on family vacations, Monica always wanted to go to poorest areas, to see if there was suffering and find ways that she could help,” says Monica’s older sister, Veena. “Most of her thoughts were with charities, especially for girls. She just wanted to make things better for people.”

When Gautam passed away last year at age 61 after a six-year journey with breast cancer, her generous spirit came to the forefront again; she left a large planned gift to Stand Up To Cancer in her will.

“Monica knew firsthand the sorrow that families have to endure caused by this devastating illness and wanted to do more to help and support other cancer patients,” said Veena. “Our mother had [breast cancer] before her, so that’s why she wanted to donate to help find a cure.”

Throughout her life, Monica was determined to succeed at anything she took on, and challenged herself every single day. “She was a career person,” said Veena. “She got her energy from work, had a strong work ethic, and wasn’t afraid of anything or anyone.”

Monica’s indomitable spirit and incredible courage serve as an inspiration for both patients and caregivers as they navigate their own cancer journey.

“You have to feel empowered,’ says Veena, who was Monica’s primary caregiver throughout her illness, “and people have to know that they must speak up, and advocate for themselves. My sister taught me that, don’t be afraid.”

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