She is only six classes away from graduating with a degree in business administration from Regis University in Denver. Although she works full-time at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, she spends much of her time at a local soup kitchen, cooking for the senior citizen hall and raising money for various charities with the Ladies Auxiliary Fraternal Order of Eagles. She also volunteers as a translator to children who are battling cancer.
“I am a strong believer in education, and I passed this belief on to my daughter,” Cardenas said. “She excelled in school, was on the honor roll and was a member of the Honor Society in the last year of her life. She died at the age of 13 from leukemia. It took me quite a while to get over her loss and get back on my feet, but I did, and I decided to go back to school to earn a four-year degree.”