Oscar Perez, Jr., and Pilar Sanchez share more than office space in the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs’ suite area of the AEC at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso. Both will participate in the Komen for the Cure Race March 2 because breast cancer has touched and impacted them enough to help raise funds to find a cure.
“My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997,” said Perez. “She was very good about her yearly mammograms and found the cancer from one screening to the next. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if she missed her mammogram that year. She was successfully treated here in El Paso by a wonderful team of physicians, surgeons, nurses and staff. She is a survivor,” he said.
Perez said the ordeal was the first encounter with cancer in his family of nine and “It shook us to the core. Having six sisters struck me that they could also develop breast cancer. I asked myself– If we are a nation of accomplishing great things … why could we not beat this disease? I found out it starts with education and knowledge. If my mother had not been educated regarding yearly mammograms we most certainly would have lost her.” During Perez’ mother’s lymph node surgery and subsequent cancer treatments he and his wife were also welcoming their first child.
“It was heart breaking to see that my mother was not able to hold my son for his first few months of his life due to the debilitating treatments and surgery. But I was assured that she would live to see him take his first steps. My son is now 16 years old, and my mother is 81. I will walk the Komen Race for both of them and for my sisters who faithfully get their mammograms every year,” said Perez.
After Pilar Sanchez experienced her first Komen Race for the Cure 15 years ago, she was overcome by the overall experience and knew that she had to play a more active role in supporting this event.
“In recent years several of my friends became diagnosed with this awful disease. Some are proud survivors while others have lost their battle. This greatly affected me and directed me to become more active in my approach to making others aware,” said Sanchez.
Current statistics, she said, show that one out of eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and this is what keeps her going. “I would love for my mother, goddaughters, nieces, friends and co-workers to never have to worry about breast cancer in their entire lifetime,” said Sanchez.
Sanchez would like to extend a personal invitation to employees and students to support the Komen Race for the Cure by either participating or making a monetary donation to TEAM TECH.
“TEAM TECH” has registered 175 people so far for the Komen Race for the Cure which is set for Sunday, March 2 at Biggs Army Airfield. There is still time left to join “TEAM TECH” by either filling out a paper registration or by clicking http://komenelpaso.org/el-paso-race-for-the-cure-2. Those who choose to do a paper registration should write TEAM TECH on the form on the team name field. Campus team captain Vanessa K. Chavez can be reached by e-mail at Vanessa.firstname.lastname@example.org. Participants in Team Tech will receive a free Texas Tech “TEAM TECH Race for the Cure” T-shirt. Upon registration, participants will also receive a T-shirt from the Komen Foundation. Deadline for registration TEAM TECH online and paper forms is Thursday, February 20, 2014. Paper registrations should be turned in to Vanessa Chavez or Pilar Sanchez. This free T-shirt offer is open to employees and family members and friends who register with TEAM TECH. When registering for Team Tech, please remember to enter code, TECHELPASO14 (case sensitive – expires February 20, 2014 at noon) to receive a $5 discount.