Amanda Ruiz is a single mother of a young boy. After earning her degree in finance from UNC Charlotte in May 2018, Ruiz secured a position as a global risk analyst at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch in Charlotte.
Ruiz first showed signs of illness as a teenager, in a year when her father was assaulted, leaving permanent brain damage, and her mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which needed to be removed immediately. “We lost our house, boat, cars and any security I ever felt,” Ruiz says.
When she was 18, Ruiz was diagnosed with a serious case of Crohn’s disease and had to drop out of college. Eleven years later, once a new infusion therapy offered hope following numerous failed treatments, Ruiz realized the time had come to invest in herself.
“After having a few very close calls and having to face my own mortality, I decided to stop waiting for remission or the perfect time,” she says. “I applied to UNC Charlotte from my hospital bed.”