In honor, love, and memory of Dad

In Support of CARE – Cancer Aid Resource & Education, Inc.

Fiscal Sponsor: Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico

My Giving Story is far from simple. My tremendous amount of giving started from a broken heart. In May 2008 my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. We had been through the cancer journey before with my oldest son and we had been grateful for the expert care my son received to treat his cancer, twice before may father was diagnosed. At the time that we heard the doctor tell my father those devastating words “You have cancer”, I didn’t know the journey that would follow our family with my father’s cancer. I was not prepared for more words the doctor would say to my father, “you have a fatal disease”. This was the most difficult journey of my life.

When I lost my father in February 2009, I lost my mother 18 weeks later….from a broken heart. Cancer forever changes lives. It changed all our family’s lives. I very much had a different perspective of life after losing my parents. After a dark period of coping with my loss, I started a new life, a new life of giving. Since 2009, I dedicated my time in a full-time capacity to volunteering for different organizations. Through my volunteering, I learned that the need to help our local cancer patient strongly exists! And, I also learned that there was not a local nonprofit organization to help our local cancer patients who were coping with the diagnosis of any type of cancer. This caused me to take a different focus. Cancer does not discriminate. Any one of us can become a cancer patient. As a result of my experiences, I fully had the knowledge that the need to help our local cancer patients existed in our community. When I debated within myself, should I do this? Should I start an organization that would help cancer patients…knowing full well the amount of time it would take…knowing full well the challenges we would face…but also knowing full well that people in our community needed help. I could’ve turned my back. I could’ve looked the other way. But, the feeling deep in my soul wouldn’t let me. I couldn’t turn my back. I couldn’t look the other way. I couldn’t take a back seat. At least now I can say that I am doing something about addressing this need.

I have taken action to help our local cancer patients. We established the nonprofit organization, CARE – Cancer Aid Resource & Education, Inc. In a full-time capacity, I volunteer my time to CARE to make a difference in helping our local community, especially cancer patients who reside in Doña Ana County. I choose to not receive a salary so that more cancer patients can be helped. We have operated this organization as a volunteer group, with no salaries nor payroll expenses. I turned a life experience that most people would want to forget into my life's work. No family should have to experience unmanageable financial burdens in the midst of a health crisis.

CARE’s focus is to provide assistance to cancer patients and their families to help them cope with their cancer treatment by assisting them with non-medical expenses/basic living needs expenses while they are in active treatment for any type of cancer. Active treatment usually may involve surgery and/or chemotherapy and/or radiation or a transplant. CARE’s Care and Support Program helps with gas cards to get to treatment, groceries and nutritional supplements, utilities, rent or mortgage, and lodging if needing travel for treatment, etc. so that the patient can concentrate on treatment and recovery. Upon helping cancer patients for 4 years, we have raised over $500,000 and provided over $350,000 of financial assistance to over 325 cancer patients in treatment for any type of cancer.

Our organization is two-fold:

(1) we raise funds through events and

(2) we disburse those funds through our Care and Support Program.

We cannot do one without the other. The goal of CARE is to assist and improve cancer patients and their family’s lives by addressing financial burdens of everyday life while they are going through this devastating health crisis. Therefore, our goal at CARE is to ensure that while families are dealing with cancer they have dignity and as much strength and courage as we can help provide. We encourage any individual, organization or business to support our cause of helping our local cancer patients, children and adults. We appreciate any donations to CARE – Cancer Aid Resource & Education, Inc. so that we can continue to help our local cancer patients in treatment for this devastating disease, cancer.