Once we learned that both our immigrant mothers valiantly fought breast cancer, a bond instantly formed between Ilora and I. With only love and respect for our mothers, we have gained strength from the stoic way they handled it. Yet, unlike them, we have chosen not to fight it alone. Her mom's twenty-three year battle with breast cancer left an indelible mark on Ilora ever since she was 12 years old growing up in Jamaica, Queens in the 1980's, a time when few Bengali families lived there. It was the inspiration for Ilora to study medicine and the strength she relied on when she, herself, was diagnosed with Stage I breast cancer in 2014, at age 42.
And Ilora , as a daughter, wife, and mother of two adolescent boys, had the toughest time dealing with the men in her life, particularly her father.