Farah Delgado, a student in the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, died on July 31 at 21 years old. Friends, students and recent graduates alike remember her passion for public health, her deep love for her family, her unique laugh and her kindness.
Selena Chen, a rising senior in Sargent and Delgado’s best friend, said she met Delgado her first weekend at Boston University and described Delgado as “the most compassionate, kind-hearted person” she ever met.
“I was going through a lot freshman year, but she was there for me relentlessly even though we didn’t even know each other that well at the time,” Chen said. “Her heart is so pure and made of gold. She made everyone she met feel important and feel heard.”
Chen said Delgado was “extremely dedicated to her studies” and dreamed of making an impact in the field of public health and in underserved communities around the world.
Delgado was majoring in health science and minoring in biology in Sargent. Chen said Delgado was very interested in infectious diseases, adding that she was planning to graduate a year early and was fulfilling credit requirements through summer courses.
Delgado loved and admired her family, something Chen said she saw when she visited Delgado and her mom in Miami last November. She said Delgado especially had a strong connection with her 4-year-old brother, Ian, and often talked about how much she missed him while she was on-campus.
“Ian especially, she just loved and cared for so, so, so, so, so much,” she said. “I can’t even put into words how much Ian meant to her.”
Uma Khemraj, a 2021 Sargent graduate, said she met Delgado in an organic chemistry class in 2019 and became friends with her soon after.
“We would study together and we would watch ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ together,” Khemraj said. “She was one of the best people I’ve ever met.”
Khemraj noted the kindness Delgado showed towards others taught her “what unconditionality means in a friendship.”
“No matter what was going on in her life, if anyone needed anything, I noticed that she would constantly drop what she was doing and be there for that person,” Khemraj said.
Ava Herzer, a rising senior in Sargent, said she became friends with Farah while rushing a sorority in the spring of 2020.
At the time, many students left campus as the COVID-19 pandemic spread and classes became remote. Herzer said many of her friendships “suffered a little bit” from not interacting in person, but that it “wasn’t the case at all with Farah.”
“Her friendship is the only one I could say grew through COVID,” she said. “When we came back to Boston, our friendship picked up from there.”
Herzer noted an instance during their time apart where she had reached out to complement Delgado’s most recent Instagram post and asked who had taken such a good picture of her. Delgado had explained that she bought herself a tripod to take her own pictures, as she had never been happy with how other people took her pictures. Herzer said she had agreed then and off-handedly mentioned she should do the same.
“But then, next thing I know, two days later, I’m getting a package,” Herzer said. “I open it and it’s a tripod, and in it, Farah said that it was for my future pictures.”
Herzer said she knew Delgado as a kind, genuine and “100% selfless” person.
“She would always, always, always text people, myself included, out of the blue,” she said. “You know how you say ‘Hi, how are you?’ like it’s a formality, like trying to get the conversation going. For her, it was like she genuinely wanted to know how you were doing.”
Herzer added she remembered Delgado as being incredibly passionate about public health and having a “contagious” laugh.
“You could pick her laugh out of a room with other people laughing,” she said.
Noor Mchallah, a rising senior in the College of Arts and Sciences and one of Delgado’s friends, said Delgado attended classes remotely from her home in Miami in Fall 2020.
That fall, Mchallah said, Delgado flew to Boston to see her and other friends. She said when she met up with her, Delgado had bought her a stuffed animal as a gift.
“It was just so kind and there was no motive behind it,” Mchallah said. “She just saw it and thought of me and got it, and that was probably one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.”
She added she still has the stuffed animal to remember her by and that “it means so much more now.”
That same trip had become a special memory between Chen and Delgado, Chen said, adding that she had stayed with her in her apartment throughout her stay in Boston.
“She was only supposed to stay for a week and she ended up staying for I think like three weeks,” she said. “It felt like pre-COVID times when we would literally be with each other 24/8.”
Chen said they had gone to all their classes, done their readings in the George Sherman Union dining area and walked around the city together during that time.
“It just felt normal again,” she said, “like I had my best friend back, and it was really, really nice. It felt like a piece of me that was missing for so long was back and it meant a lot to me.”
Chen added she recalled one of those nights walking downtown and talking about what their lives would look like after graduating.
“There was so much uncertainty at the time, but when we would talk about it, it made things feel more calm and feel more certain,” she said, “and she always knew how to make me feel heard and understood and always knew the right things to say when I was upset.”
Chen said seeing the New York skyline on her trip back from Delgado’s funeral brought back an “intense nostalgic feeling” that reminded her of her friend.
“It reminded me of how much she had going for her and how much success she had in the future, and how she made college in a new city feel so much like home,” she said. “It’s sad that … I’m never going to be able to see her achieve her dreams.”
Since Delgado’s passing, Mchallah said she has interacted with a lot of her friends and believes Delgado left an impact on “everybody that she met.”
“I don’t think she knew how important she was to so many people,” she said. “I feel like sometimes you don’t recognize the impact that you have in people’s lives and Farah was just a ray of light.”
Delgado was buried this past weekend in Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery in Doral, Florida. She is survived by both her parents, her grandparents on her father’s side, her aunt and uncle and their two children, her cousins.
CORRECTION: In an earlier version of this story, it was misstated that Ian was Delgado’s stepbrother. The article has been updated to reflect that he was her biological brother.