When Macarena was just eight-years-old, her mother developed cancer. Unable to work, as her health deteriorated she had no way to care for Macarena and her younger brother. She felt that it would be in the best interests of her children to move into a family at the SOS Children’s Village, where she knew they would be provided with a permanent, safe home. Macerena’s SOS mother says: “Her mother was diagnosed with cancer, so I think she was very strong to leave her children at the Village in order to face her disease on her own.”
Although Macerena struggled to settle in when she first arrived at the Village, with the patience of her SOS mother, she gradually began to recognise her SOS family as her own. Her mother says that she was a kind child and a dedicated student, often receiving awards for ‘best pupil’. When she finished college, she went on to study as a biochemist at Universidad de Santiago, graduating with honours. She has since embarked upon a career in medical research at the Pontifical Catholic Universidad of Chile, where she has contributed with important research into oncology.
Despite her busy lifestyle, every year, Macerena makes time to return home and celebrate Christmas with her SOS family in Puerto Varas, where her SOS mother is raising the next generation of children. They are looking forward to welcoming her home, where she is planning to stay to celebrate the New Year. Her SOS mother thinks that she is an example to her younger SOS brothers and sisters about what they can achieve if they work hard at school.
After Christmas, Macerena will move to the United States, where she has received a job offer in medical research. Macerena says: “SOS Children did a lot for me. It gave me an SOS mother, brothers and sisters, and on top of that, a profession that opened my eyes and showed me the way to success and happiness.” Wherever she is in the world, Macerena is looking forward to returning home next Christmas.
Find out how you can support SOS Children at Christmas.