By Frank J. Buchman
“You have breast cancer.”
Nothing is more alarming, frightening, depressing and discouraging than such prognosis from a doctor.
Desiree Garcia of Berryton was given that shocking diagnosis four years ago. “I was terrified,” she admitted. “It was the most stressful time in my life and I was so unprepared. I really didn’t know what to do.”
As bad and serious as the circumstances were, Garcia is far from alone in such a terrible situation. More than a quarter of a million women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States last year, according to the American Cancer Association.
“My cancer had spread to the extent my doctor recommended a double mastectomy. There was nothing I could do but go ahead with it,” Garcia said.
Fortunately the surgery was successful and Garcia feels as though she is again healthy. “I have not required any radiation or chemotherapy. I have a sonogram every six months, and they show no signs of any cancer,” Garcia explained.
“However, my doctor insists he will not say ‘I am cancer free.’ There is still always a chance for another flare up,” she sadly admitted.
Prior to her surgery, during and following recovery, Garcia has had a desperate feeling for consolation and comforting support.
“My family and other acquaintances sympathized with me and did their best to understand my discouragement. But I still felt very alone, largely ill-informed and uniformed about all that was really going on,” she explained.
Most importantly Garcia didn’t want others who received the frightful prognosis from their doctor to go through the same depression. “I decided to initiate an effort to help ease the stresses and tensions when told you have breast cancer.”
Garcia started “Pockets For A Purpose” as positive moral support for those diagnosed with the dreaded disease.
“Mostly it’s to provide information, express understanding feelings with encouragement, even small tokens to make one feel better,” Garcia explained.
Word of the effort spread first through social media and word of mouth. “It was slow, but very positive and continued to increase all of the time,” Garcia said.
“Several acquaintances and businesses provided financial support which has been a big benefit,” she appreciated.
“From all of the feedback I received, I knew I had to continue and expand the effort,” Garcia insisted.
Paperwork was completed so Pockets For A Purpose could become a 501c3 non-profit organization.
“That was a major expense all of my own, but has been approved,” Garcia acknowledged. “Now I can move forward soliciting support and providing what additional assistance I can for those receiving this terrible diagnosis.”
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers.
Currently, the average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 13 percent. “This means there is a one in eight chance a woman will develop breast cancer,” Garcia clarified.
Most staggering statistic however is that nearly 45,000 women die from breast cancer annually.
“Actually I had two kinds of cancer, one which wasn’t even diagnosed until following the double mastectomy surgery,” Garcia said. “As serious as my cancer was, I am still so blessed considering all of what could have been.
“That’s why I’m so determined to advance Pockets For A Purpose and help everyone I can even if in a small way,” Garcia said.
Serving as graphic designer for the Everything Horses and Livestock Magazines, Garcia is especially close to the livestock industry.
“Rural women often feel they are immune to something like cancer,” Garcia said. “That is far from the truth. Breast cancer shows no sympathy and must be taken seriously by everyone.
“I want to do my part to assist others when they get that terrible breast cancer diagnosis,” Garcia reiterated.
Information about Pockets For A Purpose is available from Garcia on Facebook, a personal call to 785-430-8408 or email [email protected]
A breast cancer survivor, Desiree Garcia of Berryton started “Pockets For A Purpose” as positive moral support for those diagnosed with the dreaded disease. “It’s to provide information and express encouragement to help make one feel better,” Garcia explained. “We even pleasure tokens for women diagnosed with breast cancer.”