Tucson Real Estate agent and Asian-American community leader Shiraz Ali Peera recently shared a personal story about U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in reaction to the Jan. 8 shooting:
I first met the Congresswoman in the late 1990s at a social event for our Alma Mater, Thunderbird Graduate School of Global Management in Glendale, Ariz. and we have remained good friends with her and an ardent supporter of her career ever since.
In 2005, when Gabrielle threw her hat in the ring to run for the Rep. Jim Kolbe’s Dist 8 seat, my wife and I were naturally ecstatic to support her. We had planned on holding several fundraisers for the Congresswoman to gain support within the Asian Community.
At the time, my wife was battling breast cancer and was in remission for 8 months, only to have her health quickly dwindle in 2006. Her cancer came back with a vengeance. Soon After she caught pneumonia and her respiratory system completely shut down and she was hospitalized at the Tucson Medical Center.
When the news reached Gabrielle’s campaign headquarters, her staff called to inform me that Gabrielle would be in touch with me shortly. Two hours later, at the end of her campaign, Gabrielle stopped by the Tucson Medical Center to visit my wife, bringing chocolates, as we talked about my wife’s serious condition. She spent two hours with my family, giving me hope and conveying her good wishes.
As she left, I was flabbergasted at her surprise visit—I wasn’t expecting it. The fact that Gabrielle took time from her campaign to come to visit my wife at the hospital spoke volumes of her humility, compassion, and empathy to the mankind. At that point, I knew that she wouldn’t just be a Brilliant Public Servant, but a Congresswoman of all people and a true friend. That day, that visit, has been etched into my memory and defined my immense respect for our Congresswoman.