When the largest city in the United States is your playground growing up, there is never a lack of opportunity to do fun and exciting things as a child. New York City is the hub for so many wonderful things, arts, finance, nightlife just to name a few. But New York City is also a dangerous place. A city where vigilance is a constant companion. You would think, growing up in New York City would foster a parental style of protection, but for many working single parents, they must rely on their children gaining a street education as well as an academic education.
Carin Rosado was born in Harlem, New York in the middle of a tumultuous city that was changing. The chaotic streets of New York were being turned into an avant- garde tourist attraction before everyone’s eyes. Carin’s primary education was given to her on the streets of the city that never sleeps. Walking to school or riding the subway at a young age all because she was being raised by a single mother. Carin had to rely on her wits and protection to survive not out or neglect but out of a Mother’s love to work as hard as necessary so her children can have a good life.
From a very young age, Carin’s caring demeanor and instinctual bedside manner, drove her to seek a career in the medical field. As many young children dream, Carin often thought of becoming a doctor, but also hoped for a family which doesn’t always lend itself to that profession. She then pivoted and decided to join the New York City Fire Department Emergency Medical Services as a paramedic. This was a life of service and a job where you can go home at night, laying your head on the pillow knowing that you made a difference in someone’s world. After a long and arduous process, Carin finally gets hired by the FDNY and begins a career that was incredibly gratifying yet horrific at the same time. Paramedics and medical professionals who see people at their worst and at their most vulnerable moments in life. But quickly Carin found out that this was not a job, this was a calling.
In the spring of 2020 the United States and the world was hit by a global pandemic of COVID-19. Instantly things we took for granted were stolen, and the world was thrown into an uncertain future filled with chaos and doubt. Serving in the FDNY, the members had no choice but to stay steadfast and maintain their position to respond and preserve life.
Shortly after the ravages of COVID-19 hit the world, certain emergency services departments across the nation decided to put mandatory vaccine protocols in place. These mandates demanded that all New York City Firefighters and emergency service personnel must comply and receive the COVID-19 vaccine. There was no religious or ethical exemption.
According to NYC.gov “Since November 1, 2021, City employees have been required to submit proof that they have received the primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine, per a series of Commissioner of Health Orders. The COVID-19 vaccine requirement applied to current city and DOE employees, nonpublic school staff, early childcare and daycare staff, prospective City employees, as well as visitors to Department of Education (DOE) school buildings.
Since November 1, 2021, City employees have been required to submit proof that they have received the primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine, per a series of Commissioner of Health Orders. The COVID-19 vaccine requirement applied to current city and DOE employees, nonpublic school staff, early childcare and daycare staff, prospective City employees, as well as visitors to Department of Education (DOE) school buildings.”
Carin had an uneasy feeling from the start about becoming vaccinated, and after much internal deliberation, refused. Because of her refusal, she was placed on leave from the FDNY and for four months was held in limbo, not allowed to work receiving no pay. Finally, after a four month period, because of the noncompliance of the vaccine mandates, Carin was fired from her position as a New York City Fire Department Emergency Services division. Now left out in the open and unsure of where to go from here, with no income and no health benefits, Carin faced an unsure future.
During this time, Carin became ill with the coronavirus, and like so many across the world, battled this pandemic, the best way she could. After recovery, Carin noticed that she was getting extreme sinus infections and mucus continually poured from her nose and eyes. She knew something wasn’t right, but had no health insurance and couldn’t go to the doctors so she dealt with the bouts the best way she could. Living like this for what seemed like an eternity was how Carin moved forward. One night, while in a deep sleep, Carin had a dream where she met her cousin telling her that she has cancer. Those prophetic words found inside sleep were a premonition of things to come.
Finally, after some time, she had the ability to go on Medicare and promptly went to the doctor. Out of nowhere, she tells the doctors, “ I think I have Lymphoma”. Carin is not sure whether she had some form of clairvoyance or relying on her medical expertise, but very seldomly in life do we ever wish we are wrong in our assumptions, this was one of them.
As the doctor walks back into the room with a somber face, Carin already knows the diagnosis. The doctor says. “You have Lymphoma”. Lymphoma is a broad term for cancer that begins in cells of the lymph system.
The two main types are Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Hodgkin lymphoma can often be cured. The prognosis of NHL depends on the specific type. At 34 years old Carin’s future was less clear than it had ever been. Still unemployed, waiting for the mandate ruling to be overturned, Carin sat in silence, and looked for methods of treatment.
Carin researched traditional methods of cancer treatments with confusion. She was unsure if she was willing to give up her quality of life in order to beat Lymphoma. A very spiritual person, Carin sought out alternative methods of treatment. Health insurance does not cover alternative methods of treatment, but rather gravitates towards the traditional western methods. With no income, Carin has been reliant on the good nature and heartfelt donations by family and friends through various funding sites. Carin vehemently states ”I’m gonna beat this, I just have to get there to fight”.
Never once has Karen’s optimism wavered. She is a soldier fighting an invisible enemy, but is developing a new battle plan, one that very few have the courage to undertake. She also looks forward to the day where she can return to a career that she loved in the FDNY after litigation gets settled. The world needs more soldiers like Carin, who are willing to stick by their values, regardless of the consequences. Holding onto their own personal beliefs, while not allowing others to infiltrate or discourage what they feel is correct within their heart.
To help Carin in her fight for her life against Lymphoma , please consider donating to the cause:
On February 6, 2023, Mayor Adams announced the City’s decision to rescind its vaccine mandate. As of February 10, 2023, the COVID-19 vaccine is optional for current and prospective City employees. These employees are eligible for reinstatement if the employee submits a request for reinstatement via email or otherwise in writing, within one year of their date of dismissal.
Carin Rosado is a 34-year old veteran of FDNY where she worked for a decade caring for the people of New York when they were the most vulnerable – when they were sick. Now Carin is sick and grappling with a diagnosis of Stage 3 Hodgkins Lymphoma. Currently, Carin spends her days caring for loved ones and baking her heart out. She bakes cakes for every special occasion her family and friends celebrate – the room lights up when she enters the room with her sugary baked goods. Carin also dedicates a significant amount of time as an ambassador to Bravest for Choice – a group that rallies for liberty and freedom.