Alma Gonzalez is battling breast cancer, promoting awareness

Sue Fleming, The Freer Press

In an effort to promote breast cancer awareness, Alma Gonzalez of Freer is encouraging locals to join her in the 2nd annual "Come Walk With Alma" this Saturday morning.

The walk will begin at 9 a.m. at the old hospital, which is located off of Hwy. 44, and will end at the high school.

Inspiration to hold such an event resulted after Gonzalez found a lump in her breast in April 2006. This year in April, her sister in Houston also found a lump during a self-examination and is currently undergoing treatment.

Following diagnosis, Gonzalez said she has maintained a positive attitude, each day trying to go about her life as normally as possible.

"Having that kind of attitude, thinking positive thoughts, helped me through chemo a lot," she said smiling. "Sure, I had bad days, but I still tried to think positive which I tell my sister who is going through a tough time."

Though the American Cancer Society estimated that 58,490 mothers, sisters, cousins and friends would die of breast cancer in 2005, this is not acceptable to Gonzalez, she says, her goal is that the figure will reflect instead a number of zero.

Recent reports from the American Cancer Society show that the breast cancer death rate in the United States continues to drop more than two percent per year, a trend that began in 1990 and is credited to progress in early detection and treatment.

But the report says African American women and women of other racial and ethnic groups have benefited less than white women from the advances that have led to those gains, and that a recent drop in cancer incidence (the rate at which new cancers are diagnosed) is due in part to fewer women getting mammograms.

While many women live in fear of breast cancer, this report shows a woman today has a lower chance of dying from breast cancer than she's had in decades.

Early detection is vital, stresses Gonzalez.

"It's very important that not only women but men too, perform monthly breast exams and that women see a doctor and have mammograms," said Gonzalez. "That's what this walk is all about - getting the word out. Early detection saves lives."

Gonzalez thanks Newman Operating, Robert Lee, Mary's Nails, Dairy Queen, Freer Iron Works, Andy Bierstedt, Liberty Cafe, Lydia Casas, Jim Acker, Nelda Garcia, Straight Line Construction, Casas Drive Thru and Napa for their support.

To make a donation or to order a T-shirt, pink bracelet or pin, call Gonzalez at 394-5651 or 701-7891.

All proceeds will be given to the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation.