KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. – Sergio Mendoza vividly remembers the day he first laid eyes on his wife, Sarah Fernandez, at a book store in Coral Gables.
“For me, it was love at first sight. I think that I was dating my wife about a month before she said she was dating me so it was a good start,” he said with a laugh.
From that day in 2007, the relationship quickly blossomed. They were engaged in 2008 and married in 2009.
“And then we had our first child, my son Sergio Michael, who’s now 8 in 2012, and my daughter, Anais, in 2015 and she’s now 5,” Mendoza said.
But the pregnancy and their first child turned bittersweet when Fernandez-Mendoza was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“She noticed a lump during her pregnancy and she knew better than to think it was nothing,” he said.
Fernandez-Mendoza underwent surgery right after the birth of her son but the cancer came back with a vengeance.
“She had full metastatic disease, which eventually took her life in 2017,” Mendoza said.
Turning the pain of his loss into a passion to find a cure, Mendoza designed a pink sea urchin shaped cocktail ring to honor his wife and all the important women in his life.
The profits from sales through his company, Pharaoun.com, help support the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
“It’s really been amazing to support Komen in something that I believe so strongly through my designs,” he said.
Mendoza believes his wife would be proud of his efforts.
“And she would probably tell me to have more fun while doing it as well, make it something that supports a community and good memories and good times,” he added.
So far, Mendoza has raised $6,000 from the sales of the ring and more than $9,000 from his team’s participation in the annual Walk For A Cure, which will be held virtually this year on Oct. 17.