Profile of a Champion
“Sometimes life gives us the opportunity to witness greatness in people. For me, that was Javier. He listened when I needed someone to hear me, and he spoke up when I needed to hear someone. He went above and beyond the duty of a friend and instead became my brother.”
This is just one snippet of so many testimonials about a true Champion, Javier Corradini. Before passing from cancer in 2017, he touched lives in countless ways, both at home and as an instructor at the Columbia Horse Center. To this day, people still comment on how he impacted them and brought them joy. His presence was unmistakable, his laughter unforgettable.
“Just him saying ‘Hello’ turned ugly or gloomy days to sunshine. He always made people feel like they mattered in this world no matter what.” This common theme of how he impacted everyone he came in contact with and how special he made everyone feel runs throughout the memories of Javier. He would be there with a hug to greet you, and he would offer his shoulder to cry on when you were going through hard times.
And he would push students at the Center to be better versions of themselves— in riding and in their character.
“He radiated a light and warmth that we crowded around, soaking up the sense of belonging and connection,” said Amelia, one of his students that still holds dear the lessons Javier taught her both inside and outside of the riding ring. He encouraged them to cast fear aside and just dig in— it may have been in the context of learning a new riding skill, but it is a lesson that stuck with those lucky enough to have known him.
“Live in the moment, love every moment, and spread the magic of laughter to all” said Carla when she thinks of Javier. His laugh especially comes to mind when those who knew him think of his personality. His wife, Cate, said “he had the best belly laugh. Happy and genuine. It’s my favorite thing to think of when I think of him… him with his daughters having fun and laughing.” It’s that “salt-of-the-earth good” person Cate describes that keeps him here with us.
The reflections on Javier’s life show how much he impacted others; how he lived for his family; and how his character above all made people want to be better versions of themselves.
That’s what keeps him here. That’s what makes him a legend. That’s what makes him a Champion we can always look up to!
“He looked at me one day when I was worried, and he said ‘when are you going to stop being so scared? Just do it. You don’t have a choice— we have two kids and you have to do it.’”
When you’re a champion, you find the strength where you can, even on days where you think you can’t even bring yourself to get out of bed. Despite the loss of her husband Javier to cancer, Cate has found her strength in family and the memory and words of her husband.
“Up until the end, he said you need to love each day like it’s your last. A lot of us don’t learn that until later in life. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, so you need to make today count. I tell people not to bicker about the stupid little things. At the end it doesn’t matter, and fighting is a waste of time. Be happy and try to live a good day.”
Cate lives every day for their two beautiful daughters.
“They saved me. They got me through it and still save me to this day. For the kids, I have to talk about him. There’s a rainbow? That’s papa saying hi. I have to do it and carry it forward. I try to make my girls understand who their father was and to mold them into good people.”
This is Champions Against Cancer’s first “Profile of a Champion.” Our goal is to show others the strength of those that have dealt with cancer in their life, and Cate has been an inspiration to us and to those around her. She has learned a lot about herself and what she is capable of as she has powered on. “Being on my own for the first time in my entire life… old me would never have been able to do this. I’m independent now and can do anything on my own.”
When it comes to advice to others going through the same situation, she says that things will get easier with time. “It will get better. It takes a long time, but it gets better. Minute by minute, it gets better.”
You are a true champion, Cate!