She was only 45 but it seemed like she had lived two whole lifetimes.
Kristina Sanchez Ultra, only daughter among 6 children of Antonio Sanchez and Bernardita Rodriguez Sanchez was born in Cagayan de Oro City on September 7, 1969. She finished high school at Lourdes College and went to Liceo de Cagayan University for a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing.
Kristina was the last in her family to migrate to the U.S. because she wanted to finish nursing before moving to the United States permanently. Founding director of Preferred College of Nursing in Los Angeles, California, a family-owned business, she previously worked as an ER nurse in a hospital in downtown Los Angeles for about 15 years.
Married to Esteban Ultra for 17 years, they traveled all over the world to 32 countries and over a hundred cities and some 40 States in the United States.
She volunteered in medical missions, twice in parts of Africa to take care of HIV/AIDs patients in Kenya and in the jungles of the Amazon in Manaus, Brazil.
Diagnosed with cancer in 1998, she fought long and hard to beat the disease and joined in several marathons to raise awareness of it. Her ailment did not stop her from living life to the fullest. Life went on as usual. She continued to work and to travel. One of the last things she enjoyed doing was visiting the California Missions. I am not sure if she got to go to all 21 of them. But knowing her, she just might have.
She passed away on February 23, 2015 at the Henry Mayo Hospital in Valencia, California surrounded by her loving family – husband Esteban and daughter Erin Kassidy, mother Bernie and 5 brothers, Enan, Mark, Anthony, Bernard, Giovanni and their families. Internment was at San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, California.
You can usually tell the kind of person one is by the number and kind of friends she has. Seeing so many of her friends at her funeral, old high school chums from Lourdes College and nursing school classmates from Liceo who flew in from Italy, Canada and all over the United States, was very moving. They came to say their goodbyes personally and to celebrate the life of someone who made them laugh, who organized fun gatherings and most of all, showed them how to live life. What an amazing journey!