Blanca Ramirez

Brianna Romo remembers her mother Blanca Ramirez as a strong, independent and inspiring woman who bounced back after numerous health problems throughout much of her adult life.

“She was a loving and caring person who had a great sense of humor,” Ramirez said. “I heard from nurses while she was in the hospital that she was always telling them jokes.”

Ramirez, an Imperial Beach resident, was born in Los Angeles and moved to San Ysidro as a teenager. At 18, she was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease lupus.

Romo said her father was out of the picture as she was growing up, and her mother raised her on her own. Her brother had died at birth, and Romo was an only child.

“She was very independent and strong-willed,” she said about her mother. “And she would help those in need, no matter.”

Romo said her mother was her coach and cheerleader when she began playing soccer at 4, a sport she still competes in at 28. Her mother also was a coach and cheerleader in other ways, teaching and encouraging her throughout life.

“Whenever I needed her, she was there,” she said.

Ramirez had a stroke in July, and Romo said she wasn’t too worried at first because her mother had been in and out of the hospital many times. But then she learned her mother had tested positive for COVID-19 a week after her trip to the emergency room.

Romo said her mother got to see her graduate from Grossmont College this year, and she is studying criminal justice at San Diego State University.

“She told me how proud she was of me and never to give up,” she said.

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