Belinda Anne Williams
August 25, 1974-May 15, 2018
Belinda arrived in this world on August 25, 1974. She grew up in Fremont, California where she attended grammar school, and Washington High School graduating in 1992. Belinda loved animals and sports. She joined 4H and raised Himalayan rabbits when she was 10. She won prizes at the fair for rabbit showmanship and rabbit dress up. She also made decorative breads with other 4-Hers.
In high school Belinda enjoyed sports and was on the girls’ volleyball team and ran cross country for track. She won many awards for track and hoped to run for a college team. A track coach told her about Colorado State University, and the track team there was interested in having her on their team. Unfortunately, before she left for college, Belinda was in a bicycle accident where she hit her head very hard and ruptured a disc in her neck. She spent the winter break of her freshman year undergoing a cervical fusion operation in Fort Collins. She recovered quickly, and went skiing six weeks later.
At CSU Belinda majored in microbiology. She was fascinated by how tiny organisms could live and multiply. She joined the ski team for a while, and after many ups and downs was close to graduation. In her senior year she developed a life threatening illness that baffled her doctors. Her bone marrow quit working and she became anemic and lost her immune system. She underwent treatment for both, but only got worse with collapsing focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, a deadly kidney disease. For months Belinda was in and out of the hospital with infections and other complications. However, shortly after Christmas in 1999, she began to improve and eventually made a miraculous recover. After Belinda graduated from CSU, the family celebrated by taking a trip to Costa Rica, a country that fascinated her. She went swimming in the warm ocean, met a toucan, and tried zip lining. After getting her diploma, Belinda applied for jobs, and moved to Baltimore, Maryland to work as a research assistant for a nephrologist at John Hopkins University. Later when that job ended she found work as a research assistant at George Washington University Hospital in Washington DC.
After spending so much time in the hospital during her senior year of college, Belinda decided that she wanted to become a doctor and took the MCAT exam, which she passed. Due to her illness in college her grade point average had suffered, so mainstream medical schools were not interested in having her as a student. She began looking at off shore schools, which were not as selective, and decided to go to Oceania University of Medicine in Samoa. She would only have to spend 10 weeks in Samoa for the first class, and could do the rest while working back in the states. The program was hands on and mostly on line. Belinda went to Samoa, and had several adventures there including one where she participated in rescuing a Japanese travel representative, who nearly drowned in the ocean. The beginning medical students managed to resuscitate him, and commandeered a station wagon to take him to a distant hospital where he recovered.
Returning to the states, Belinda got a job at National Jewish Hospital in Denver, working again as a research assistant. Unfortunately, research assistant jobs are precarious due to funding issues, and her job there ended. Belinda needed to continue to work while she was still taking classes, so she took a job with Denver Public Schools to be a para professional with special needs students.
Belinda was preparing to take the USMLE Step 1 test to continue her medical education when she was in a serious bicycle accident on Mt. Evans, CO. She literally broke half of the bones in her back, and even after three surgeries to fuse vertebrae in her back and neck, never fully recovered, and was in constant pain. On top of everything else, her immune system failed again, and she had to get infusions of antibodies every two weeks to stay healthy. Belinda passed away on May 16, 2018. She is survived by her parents, Marshall and Dorothy Williams and her brother Aaron Williams. Her many friends and her service dog, Galen, also grieve for her.
Interment will be at Los Gatos Memorial Park. Donations in Belinda’s memory may be made to: Gap Service Dogs at http://gapservicedogs.org/