On the weekend of Valentine’s Day, The Puerto Rican Cultural Center in partnership with Cuca’s family sponsored a fundraising drive to assist Cuca with mounting medical bills, which she is acquiring after complications arose from the surgical removal of a brain tumor. Cuca has recently started rehab at a facility, and every day she is more alert and more capable of engaging in conversations. Physically, she is able to sit for longer periods of time and can now hold things in her right hand. Cuca is strong; she is on the path to recovery, however, she has more steps to go. This is why the fundraiser was crucial. No one should have to worry about medical bills piling up during the healing process.
For many Puerto Ricans in Chicago, Cuca’s art has brought infinite joy and profound beauty into our homes and everyday lives. Her art is iconic; it captures and celebrates our culture in a powerful affirmation of our identity. It is a special moment to experience Cuca’s art while eating a quesito at Café Colao or avena de coco at Nellie’s Restaurant. Cuca’s art loudly proclaims our African and Taíno roots, which is one of the reasons she is so beloved by the Paseo Boricua community. The Show Your Love for Cuca fundraiser confirmed how cherished Cuca is to the community. Many scores of people came out to support her in spite of a snow storm and sub zero temperatures. The fundraiser raised $9,000 dollars for Cuca’s medical bills, sold eight of her art pieces, and made space for many community members to give generous donations and submit handwritten Valentine’s cards that send messages of love and support to Cuca during her recovery.
Cuca’s family expresses their deepest gratitude to all those who supported the fundraiser during this difficult time. It was beautiful to see the community turn out and show their love in such a big way. If you are still interested in supporting Cuca, you can go to cucastrong.com/dontae to buy Cuca Strong shirts, bid on her art, and donate to her fundraising page.