• Mike Marburg

Santiago’s Rebirth, Coronavirus, and Connection

Updated: Jul 20



In earlier blogs (HERE and HERE), I introduced you to Santiago Estevez, the 8-year old son of a best friend who bravely fought brain cancer and was the inspiration for our nature and wellness resort project.

Sadly, today is the one-month anniversary of his passing on February 27th. When I recently visited, it was clear that his body was no longer serving him, and his spirit needed a rebirth. While the larger tumors were under control, the cancer’s spread through his spinal fluid was too much. He was ready to move on.

Santiago inspired me to think about things on a bigger scale. He helped me understand a larger collective consciousness that ultimately changed the relationship I had with life and the world around me. He helped me tangibly experience that man is a part of nature (duality is false), and that my purpose was to connect people to transformational experiences.

The photo above shows a mold made by Santiago’s parents with our hands embracing. This symbolizes the other great lesson he taught me…the importance of connection. Whether spiritual or relational, with nature or purpose, every study on “happiness” or “fulfillment” describes connection in some form as the key to success, as it provides a path for us to both express and receive love.

Ironically, it is this very notion that is being challenged today as the entire world is faced with a COVID-19 crisis that is uprooting almost every connection we currently hold. For me personally, this has meant cancelling family trips, homeschooling children, and not seeing my parents, who play a strong role in my life. It has also negatively impacted funding for our project, as the hospitality industry has been devastated by the economic standstill.

So, I come back to Santiago and what he taught me. His lesson was always to rise and broaden the perspective, expand the horizon, and focus on potential. Does that mean hard things become easy? Of course not, and I need to go no farther than to think of Santiago’s parents, Rich and Claudia. They spent the past four years in his room every day, without a break, doing everything humanly possible to help him survive. Is there anything that can be said or done to ease their pain? To help them not experience the heart wrenching, grieving moments that they are going through now?

Probably not. There is nothing worse than when the circle of life between parents and children are reversed. However, I can imagine no other family that was as close to their child, and no other child that impacted as many people. So it seems that from the depths of despair one can ultimately experience the fullest range of life’s emotions, both positive and the negative.

So, whether considering Rich and Claudia or the impact of COVID-19, it may seem impossible to find a silver lining. However, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist, nor that we cannot stay connected to the one thing that can’t be taken from us…our higher spiritual essence. We can continue striving to be the best version of ourselves, making the most of every situation and choosing to focus on growth when life throws us a curveball.

Thus, I come back to our nature and wellness resort project. While it might take longer or end up being a little different than our initial plans, we choose to consider Santiago’s anniversary as a rebirthing of what we can become, and are now more passionate and aligned with this project than ever.

We will not quit and will not stop looking up until we have created a safe, nature-based sanctuary for guests to heal, recharge and self-actualize progressively throughout their life, such that they can connect to their noble purpose and better serve the world.

We will do this in such a thoughtful and beautiful way, where every decision is guided by our mission and an absolute commitment to living as a single, harmonious system with the environment around us.


This purity will attract the right type of investor that believes in conscious capitalism, resulting in an iconic destination that is inspired by Santiago’s legacy and filled with meaning for generations to come.

With love and purpose, Mike

For more information

Please contact Heather Mack

at heatherm@wellmorepartners.com

or 443-905-7077.