The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Angela Garcia was a fitness instructor when she was diagnosed with a uterine cancer in 2014. Garcia, who was teaching Zumba at the time, started gaining a lot of weight instead of losing it.
“They said I had some cyst on my ovaries and they tested that and then I came to find out that I had stage zero to one cancer,” Garcia said. “They caught it in time, so I didn’t have to go through chemo or anything like that. They went ahead and did a full hysterectomy.”
Adding to the challenge, Garcia ended up getting kidney stones and was forced to undergo multiple surgeries.
“It has been scary dealing with all that and trying to live a normal life,” Garcia said.
Still, Garcia has found the support she needs, relying on her husband and her church to lift her spirits.
Garcia has also found plenty of Madera events catered for cancer survivors. One of those events is Relay for Life. The annual fundraising event is held in many cities across the US, including Madera. From bake sales to car washes, running and walking activities, Relay for Life brings together cancer survivors and supporters.
Garcia has taken part in Relay for Life for the past few years. For this year’s event, which will be held on May. 4, Garcia has decided to join a team instead of going by herself.
“I’ve always attended, but just kind of did my own thing and mingled with everyone.” Garcia said. “But this year I actually joined the Caretaker team.”
This year’s theme for the relay is Star Wars, which works out perfectly for Garcia and her husband.
“My husband is a humongous Star Wars fan and so we’re really excited to be a part of it this year,” Garcia said. “We have many costumes and different props and things for our booths.”
Garcia, now cancer-free, has retired from teaching Zumba. But dancing is still a big part of her life.
She also stays busy as a foster mom of two children.
“We just started this new chapter of foster parents and we’re really excited,” Garcia said. “It’s a wonderful adventure.”
For Garcia, staying occupied is one way of dealing with obstacles.
“I’m not sitting and dwelling and thinking about what could have been or if it’s going to come back,” Garcia said. “Staying busy and active in the community, active in my church is a true blessing and it keeps me going.”
Garcia hopes other cancer patients can find the kind of support she has relied on.
“Find a support group, reach out to your friends, don’t give up. Just keep keep going,” she said. “Just surround yourself with people that you can count on like I have.”