Harold Fernandez’s parents met, fell in love and married in secret in the poor town of Barrio Antioquia in the dangerous city of Medellin, Colombia. Both worked in the same factory but they knew all their hard work and struggles would not take them far if they stayed in Barrio. They knew they had to emigrate to America in order to give their family a fighting chance at living a decent life, away from the drugs, gangs and guns.
His father Alberto left first, finding a factory job in West New York, New Jersey, working 12-hour shifts at night, 6 days a week for two years before he was able to bring his wife Angelita. Their sons were left in the care of their two grandmothers in Barrio. It was another two years before the couple could save enough money to bring their two sons to America.
Harold eventually rose to the top of his class and then on to his chosen profession as a cardiac surgeon.
Through a dangerous, harrowing and miserable night crossing on rough seas, the two young boys, along with 10 strangers made the journey through the Bermuda Triangle, finally reaching Miami. The family’s struggles did not end there.
But ultimately, through sheer perse-verance, hard work, and help from compassionate teachers and mentors, Harold graduated first in his high school class and eventually overcame all obstacles to enter Princeton University, and then Harvard Medical School.