Can­cer sur­vivor finds com­fort in help­ing oth­ers

La Semana - - NOTICIAS -

ENGLISH

Patty Aguirre is now a busi­ness­woman -- along with her hus­band she owns and op­er­ates the restau­rant El Te­quila, and dur­ing her free time she vol­un­teers at church where she helps women and chil­dren. In ad­di­tion, she man­ages her own char­ity foun­da­tion in Gu­atemala, where she helps chil­dren in distress. Patty is also a can­cer sur­vivor and her taste for life along with her con­stant de­sire for change and self-im­prove­ment is a faith­ful ex­am­ple of what it means to be His­panic. Her story is an­other one that shows the re­silience of the His­panic com­mu­nity.

“At first it was hard for me to ac­cept the fact that I was liv­ing in Tulsa,” con­fessed Patty. “The main ob­sta­cle I had to face was cul­ture it­self, be­cause His­pan­ics tend to be warmer, we trust peo­ple, and here that is a bit dif­fer­ent, but one can al­ways adapt.”

The life of Patty, her hus­band and daugh­ters changed 180 de­grees when she found out she had can­cer. Surviving this dis­ease is like hav­ing a sec­ond chance in life, and for Patty it was “a resti­tu­tion of the lost times.”

“Now I have my eyes and my heart open to live what I have left, be­cause life is just too short,” she said.

From those days of pain and un­cer­tainty the dream of cre­at­ing a char­ity foun­da­tion was born.

“We help peo­ple in Gu­atemala,” she ex­plained. “We have an or­ga­ni­za­tion with my un­cles, an NGO that sends presents to hos­pi­tal­ized chil­dren. So far we have helped more than 500.”

“It’s a big re­spon­si­bil­ity be­cause we have to make sure we cover all their needs, that is why we are al­ways try­ing to do our best,” said Patty dream­ing big, think­ing about the fu­ture of De Co­ra­zon Abierto, her NGO. “I want to see De Co­ra­zon launched in more Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries, be­cause all the His­panic coun­tries are in need of as­sis­tance. The fact that I am here in the USA, the coun­try of the Amer­i­can Dream and op­por­tu­ni­ties means that we can send help ev­ery­where.”

Patty is one of those His­pan­ics that is a liv­ing ex­am­ple of what our com­mu­nity is -- a good mother, ded­i­cated wife, grate­ful daugh­ter, and above all a fer­vent be­liever in God.

“I feel lucky be­cause I have a sec­ond chance to show the rest the value of life and the words of God. I have the op­por­tu­nity of be­ing here and bring­ing change to so­ci­ety,” she said.

“I am a war­rior,” in­sists Patty, as­sur­ing her high­est mo­ti­va­tion in life is her faith and the love for her hus­band and fam­ily.

Patty has an im­por­tant piece of ad­vice for all those His­pan­ics out there liv­ing in fear and de­spair:

“Have courage, courage to face the cur­rent cul­tural and po­lit­i­cal changes,” Patty urged. “It is time for per­se­ver­ance, to be con­nected with our fam­i­lies and with God, be­cause what we project as hu­man be­ings comes from the love of our fam­i­lies. Courage be­cause we live in Amer­ica, where all dreams and wishes can come true.” (La Se­m­ana)

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