Sofia, Bulgaria - December 29, 1941   Here is a good picture of my mom at seventeen. In the back of this photograph, she wrote the following dedication: To my dear friends Dodi and Beby, wishing you from all my heart a Happy New Year in 1942.This photo was taken during World War II. My mother has gone through a lot since then: Her ordeal would start only 3 years later when the communist took over Bulgaria on September 9, 1944. She would endure 18 very difficult years behind the Iron Curtain. At one point, she was put in a concentration camp along with her mom (my grandmother). And for what reason? The communist regime did not like my family because my grandfather Pavel was the Chief of Staff for King Boris III of Bulgaria. In fact, he was executed because he was affiliated with the previous government! The communist also killed my other grandfather George Rizov, who I am named after. These were absolutely horrible times!!!On July 22, 1962, my mom finally fled from the terror of communism along with me, my uncle Boubi and my older cousin Mrs. Vetka Tchaprachikova. On that fateful day, we got on board Dominique Lapierre’s Magic Carpet Ride, which took us to a land where freedom prevails: France. My mom and I lived in Paris for 4 years and also in Madrid for 2 years. My mother’s dream was to come to America and sure enough, she would realize it: On August 5, 1968, my mom and I flew from Paris to New York and came to United States, the land of freedom and opportunity!It was on December 15, 2010 that my mother had her birthday and she is now 86 years young! Sadly, only a couple of month earlier, her doctor told her that she probably has lung cancer. This is the second time that she has had cancer. Back in 1986, she had terminal cancer of the uterus. The doctors told her that she only had about 3 months to live. She underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and was completely cured! On April 12, 2011, she passed away after succumbing to lung cancer.

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