It was a Memorial Day Weekend to remember for Fresno Pacific University staff member and student Zaira Z. De la Cruz and two-year-old daughter Zoey.

At noon Friday, May 24, the mother and daughter received a ramp for their home through Operation Ramp It UP in partnership with UPS and facilitated by Lifeway Mobility. The ramp will help Zoey, who uses a wheelchair after being diagnosed with James type spinal muscular atrophy, a rare disease that wastes the muscles.

“The installation of this ramp marks a significant improvement in Zoey’s accessibility and mobility. It not only enhances her daily life but also alleviates some of the challenges associated with her condition. We are immensely grateful for this contribution, which will undoubtedly make a profound difference in Zoey’s quality of life,” said Zaira, a student financial services analyst at FPU and student in the university’s M.A. in Strategic and Organizational Leadership program.

Zaira is sharing her story in hopes of raising awareness about accessibility and encouraging more families to try and benefit from a ramp after she found it difficult to obtain one locally. “My family and I are very thankful to Operation Ramp It UP, UPS, Lifeway Mobility and everyone involved in making this donation possible. Their kindness and generosity have touched our hearts deeply, and we are forever grateful for their support,” she said.

More at and Operation Ramp It Up


PHOTO: UPS volunteers and others who helped assemble the ramp gather for a photo. Zaira De la Cruz is in the center and her mother, Sulma Tristan Manjarrez, is at the far right. (Photo submitted)


Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations