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Defying All Odds with Cancer Survivor and Senate Candidate Janelle Perez

Janelle Perez is a Miami born, first-generation-American, mother, wife, small business owner and a cancer survivor. After graduating from Florida International University, Janelle moved to Washington, D.C. and began her career on Capitol Hill, honing her policy analysis skills. During her time in Washington, Janelle also focused on helping those in need. She volunteered at a non-profit, where she worked with low-income immigrants by helping them to improve their basic Spanish literacy skills in their native language. While seeking her Master’s Degree from The Johns Hopkins University, Janelle worked for a non-profit where she led the educational and advocacy activities to support federal funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. At the age of 28, Janelle was diagnosed with Stage IV Follicular Lymphoma, an aggressive, incurable cancer. Following her diagnosis, Janelle moved to Miami in order to prioritize her health and to start a family with her (now) wife, Monica. Today, she is one of the owners of Doctors HealthCare Plans, Inc., a Hispanic-owned and family-owned Medicare company in Miami-Dade County. It is one of Florida’s fastest growing Medicare companies, providing affordable, high-quality medical services to Medicare beneficiaries in the county. Janelle is running for State Senate to fight for opportunities for every family and child. Her personal experience battling illness and professional experience as an advocate and business owner has deepened her commitment to ensuring every Floridian has access to affordable, high-quality healthcare.

In this episode of The Know with Nikki Spo, Nikki and Janelle discuss numerous topics including Janelle’s experiences as a first-generation American, her experiences watching her father achieve "the American Dream” and her experiences as gay woman living "in the closet" for 10 years. Janelle also speaks openly about her devastating cancer diagnosis, her decision to come out to her family on the day of her diagnosis, her advocacy work, her business experience, her journey to motherhood, her senate race and so much more! Janelle’s passion, determination and positivity are incredibly inspiring.

Although much of this subject matter is serious, Janelle and Nikki do a beautiful job of keeping the conversation light and relatable. Janelle is a true example of someone who has leaned into her own inner knowing. Listen!!

In this episode: ·

  • The self-honesty associated with understanding your sexual preference ·

  • The importance of feeling supported by friends and family upon coming out ·

  • The transition from a humble beginning to achieving “The American Dream" ·

  • What it means to leave a legacy ·

  • The beauty and setbacks of tradition ·

  • Trusting your intuition and advocating for your health ·

  • The negative effects of keeping secrets ·

  • Facing mortality at a young age ·

  • A journey to creating a family in a same sex marriage ·

  • Having honest conversations with children about the different ways in which children can come into the world ·

  • What bravery can mean

Connect with Janelle: Web: IG: @janelleperezforflorida

Connect with Nikki: Web: IG: @nikkisappspo / @theknowwithnikkispo

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