Just a short time later, her mother, Ayleen Santiago, was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center. After the tragic event, life for Ayleen Arroyo and her infant brother, Jeremy, became a daily struggle. "We moved in with my grandmother," she says. "I grew up really fast after that. I went from having minimal responsibilities to suddenly being a mother to a year-and-a-half-year-old child."
As the years have passed, Ayleen says one of her biggest regrets is that her mother isn't around to share in her life. "I just imagined her being there with me at my wedding, at my high school graduation, at my college graduation, at my brother's graduations," she says.