Donations to the Angel Fund
(checks made out to CRCFL) can be mailed to:
Cancer Resource Center
612 West State St.
Ithaca, NY 14850
Donations can also be made online.
This fund will be used to provide direct cash assistance to individuals
with cancer in our community who have a specific and immediate financial need.
Created in Memory of Miguel Ángel Balsa Marín
We regularly learn of situations in which a relatively small amount of money can make a significant difference in a person’s life. We always try to identify other resources that might exist in our community or elsewhere, but there are times that no such program exists. This is when we’ve wanted the help of an angel.
This angel – our Angel Fund – is now being created in memory of the late Miguel Balsa by his family and many friends. Miguel was a beloved young man, scholar and teacher who died from colon cancer in December 2013. He had been involved with the Cancer Resource Center for some time, and he possessed a special kindness that allowed him to connect with others going through treatment. When we realized that Miguel’s middle name was Ángel, we knew that the Angel Fund was meant to be.
Miguel’s husband, Gerard Aching, wrote this lovely tribute:
Born in Santander, the beautiful capital of the northern, coastal province of Cantabria in Spain, Miguel Ángel Balsa Marín arrived in New York City a month after September 11, 2001 in order to live with his partner and future husband, Gerard Aching, and to pursue a career in this country. With the loving support of his close-knit family and life-long friends, Miguel–as most people called him in the United States–began his American adventure. In Madrid, Miguel had studied journalism and international relations, as well as wardrobe design for theater, cinema, and television, and he co-founded La Lagarta, a theater production company. When he arrived in New York, he came with an appetite for seeing the world, an enthusiasm for familiarizing himself with the subtleties of the American language and culture, and a number of skills that would lead to a successful, professional outcome. In order to secure a visa that would allow him to share his life with Gerard and undertake a career, Miguel returned to studying and eventually obtained a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Princeton University.
In April of 2008, almost two years after marrying Gerard in Spain, and in the middle of writing his doctoral thesis, Miguel was diagnosed with colon cancer. He was forty-two at the time and on the brink of reaping the rewards of his professional endeavors. The diagnosis and subsequent treatment meant that Miguel’s plan to take up a teaching position at Cornell University would be postponed for a year. Even though he lived far from Spain, Miguel received abundant love and support from his family; his parents, Serafín and Joaquina, came to spend months at a time with him. In 2010, Miguel started teaching at Cornell and successfully defended his dissertation at Princeton. In addition to being a rigorous and imaginative scholar, he was a talented teacher, who cared deeply for his students’ education and personal growth. Students wrote laudatory evaluations of his courses on Spanish theater, cinema, and literature; his course on the European novel and another on robots and androids in theater and cinema received glowing reviews. Most of all, his students perceived that he genuinely cared about them. Miguel passed away on December 25, 2013. He was a very sharp, talented, and affectionate man. He possessed an indomitable spirit, an endearing sense of humor, an infectious laugh, and a warm and deeply generous disposition. Miguel loved life and was so gifted with the capacity to empathize with and care for others that he touched many lives.
Gerard and Miguel
Miguel is wearing an orange sweater in the photo above