After her parents died within a few years of each other, Samantha Rodriguez , 17 at that time, had to face the challenge of raising her young siblings: a brother and four sisters on her own. Now 21, she’s spent the last few years providing for her four little sisters and her little brother as no one else in the family has the means to take them in.
Cancer claimed the lives of Samantha’s parents at a time when most teen girls are focused on learning to drive, graduating high school, experimenting with makeup, and juggling romantic partners. Samantha’s mother was the first to pass away from cervical cancer; her father’s turn came three years later when he was diagnosed with an aggressive case of lymphoma, a blood cancer that has dozens of variations, reports ABC News.
Living in Orlando, the sunny Florida city known for Disney World and many other amusement parks, Samantha was expected to enjoy a magical time during her teenage years, but she was abruptly thrown into adulthood by the death of her parents. She appeared on “The View,” the morning news and entertainment program on the ABC television network, to tell her story along with her siblings. The Rodriguez family consists of Samantha, 21, Milagros, 16, Brenda, 15, Michael, 12, Bella, 9, and Destiny, 7.
On top of working as a waitress and going to college, Samantha prepares meals, makes sure that everyone goes to school, takes her siblings to the doctor, and essentially fills all parental roles. During her interview she admits that her life is difficult, but she also appreciates that time she was able to spend with her mother, a woman who taught her what it means to be a strong person.
The ABC interview with the Rodriguez family has elicited many tears of sadness, joy, and hope, and the video has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook, YouTube, and the ABC News website. People have been inspired by Samantha and the way she has been able to keep it together.
The next time someone tells you that the Millennial generation does not have what it takes to endure the hardships of modern life, point them in the right direction by suggesting that they watch the Rodriguez segment of “The View.”
Generation gaps will never go away; they are part of life and we need them to a certain degree, but it is important that we learn from people from all generations. Be sure to pass this on to your friends and relatives so that they can learn about Samantha and all the great things that young people can accomplish even in times of great adversity.