Yalisse Fariza (Student)
By University Communications
Monday, 05 14 2018
Meet graduating senior, Yalisse Fariza, a young woman who is transforming her setbacks into triumphs.
In May 2010, Fariza received the gut-wrenching news that her father was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Initially she wanted to crumble but knew she had to be strong for her family. And to her relief, after numerous rounds of grueling chemotherapy, her father was told he was cancer free.
While her father was going through treatment, Fariza stayed by his side in the hospital. Being true to her gregarious nature, she met several people from across the country while at the hospital who were also battling financial issues and grave medical diagnoses. It was a shocking revelation for Fariza. She couldn’t understand how cancer patients were alone receiving chemotherapy while their loved ones could not be with them because they needed to work to provide financial assistance.
After witnessing these situations, Fariza realized what she wanted to do with her life— launch a nonprofit organization which would assist families in paying for medical bills.
“A lot of people don’t know about all the resources available to them. I want to be the one-stop shop where they don’t have to worry about finances. I just want them to focus on getting better, and I will take that financial stress off their shoulders,” she says.
Soon after this dream arose, Fariza fell to her knees with the news of another tragedy. Her mother was killed in a train crash while on vacation in Spain. She was distraught and bewildered but yet again did her best to remain strong.
Through life’s heavy fog, Fariza could see that earning a bachelor’s degree was a necessity. Her mother wanted that for her and Fariza knew it was the next step in acquiring the knowledge necessary to start her nonprofit. Life’s misfortunes had solidified that helping others through tragedy was her cemented path.
Fariza moved to San Antonio to complete school following her mother’s funeral. She enrolled in a local community college and was later made aware of Texas A&M University-San Antonio (A&M-SA). After a tour of the campus alongside her best friend, Fariza was smitten. She loved the small class sizes and felt a sense of belonging that she couldn’t find anywhere else.
In fall 2016, Fariza enrolled at A&M-SA and majored in marketing. She fully immersed herself in the collegiate experience and became a member of A&M-SA’s American Marketing Association—serving as treasurer for the spring 2018 semester.
Fariza’s story is proof that a dream deferred can result in a dream fulfilled. She feels prepared with the knowledge and skills she learned from her time A&M-SA to launch her transformative nonprofit and impact the lives of others.