Lifelong professional cook. And in-treatment breast cancer patient since 2012. When 53-year-old Lourdes was diagnosed with breast cancer, she got two doses of bad news—her doctors told her the hot kitchen she worked in was unhealthy, and she needed to stop working in that environment. That day in the doctor’s office left her without income. Without health benefits. And with what she thought was a death sentence.
Luckily for Lourdes, a community surrounds her here in San Diego ready to help, as they do with all breast cancer patients who do not have the resources every woman in her position deserves. The funding starts with Susan G. Komen San Diego to get her through this challenging time and into the breast cancer survivor phase.
With no income, comes no meals. Enter Mama’s Kitchen. This volunteer-driven, nonprofit organization prepares and delivers food to people in San Diego affected by cancer or AIDS. Lourdes enjoys three healthy and nutritious meals a day thanks to the people at Mama’s Kitchen. To Lourdes, the meals give her comfort in knowing that she’s being given the nutritional strength to battle back against her breast cancer, which is so important to a woman’s fight against the disease.
Through Komen-funded grants, Breast Cancer Solutions pays for her transportation to and from treatments, Family Health Centers of San Diego provides her patient navigation services, she went to Sharp Coronado for her mammogram, and Sharp Chula Vista for radiation therapy.
“I’m so grateful. I’d either be starving or dead right now if I didn’t have this support,” says a surviving Lourdes.
Her family and friends were meaning well when they helped cook for her. But the traditional preparations were mostly carbohydrates and fatty foods, the breads, tortillas, and carne asada, for example. Along came excessive weight gain, which is common among people with hormone-based cancers, such as breast cancer. But it gives them a higher risk of the cancer returning.
Ever since Mama’s Kitchen began serving Lourdes three nutritious meals a day, her weight began to return to a healthy level. Lourdes credits the tasty, well-balanced, portion-controlled meals for the comfort she is now enjoying. Feeling so much better, she has transitioned off Mama’s Kitchen’s meal delivery service, to self-sufficiency. Lourdes proudly says today, “Live life, be strong. Cancer is in my body, but it’s not who I am.” Who is she? She is the mother of two and grandmother of four. And who knows what else in her future?
Komen San Diego is the only organization that provides qualified women the free services they need for every step of the breast cancer survival journey. These services include free diagnostic mammograms, life-saving screenings, surgeries, temporary financial aid for living expenses, meal deliveries, education, outreach and more. Wherever there’s a gap—Komen fills it.
Komen San Diego continues to be the County’s largest funder of free breast cancer treatments, services and support. And, next to the U.S. government, Komen is the largest funder of breast cancer research in the world.
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