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Unique group helps Borderland cancer patients
By: Stephanie Guadian
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- A new nonprofit organization is helping Dona Ana County cancer patients both financially and emotionally.
Breast cancer and lymphedema left Rosalie Valdez hospitalized.
"I was really scared. When they told me I had cancer, I just started crying. I was really scared, "said Valdez.
High medical bills led Valdez to the new organization Caring People Helping People, or CARE. The group helped her buy a compression sleeve not covered by her insurance.
"When they take your lymph nodes out, you have no circulation. It's like a liquid coming down this way. They are trying to push it up into your other lymph nodes," said Valdez.
The focus of CARE is local. All of the money raised at fundraisers stays in Dona Ana County to help people like Ernest Espinoza. Eighteen days after his wife Elia finished her treatment for breast cancer, doctors discovered he had colon and liver cancer.
"The bills were piling up. We had just finished paying hers off. And all of a sudden, me," said Espinoza.
Yoli Diaz is the president of CARE.
"They have to decide what they are going to pay. Will they pay their mortgage? Will they pay their rent? Will they pay their utilities? Will they buy their medicine?" said Diaz.
Diaz lost her own father to lung cancer, and her son is a melanoma survivor. She now dedicates her time to helping others affected by the devastating disease. CARE can help provide things like airfare, prescriptions, medical supplies, insurance payments even wigs.
For Valdez, CARE means more than a compression sleeve. It's a place to turn for hope.
"My goal for the future is to enjoy life," said Valdez.
CARE is holding a 5K fundraiser Saturday. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m. The event starts at 7 a.m. on the Triviz path by Kohl's department store.