Many of us have been touched by cancer in different ways.
And in my case, my brother, Albert Q. Garcia, was taken at a young age of only 21 when I was 13 years old.
He was the oldest sibling and my only brother.
He was taken away from my dad on Father's Day, June 20, 1976. I now think back and could only imagine what my father and mother went through losing their only son.
At the time and didn't really grasp the seriousness of his dreadful disease.
Like so many other families, my parents religiously traveled to and from Houston's M.D. Anderson Hospital, which is the one of the leading hospitals in the country, which specializes in cancer treatment.
I remember my brother as the perfect older brother and a great role model for me and my sister. Even today, people will stop me and recall how polite he was and how well he treated other people.
He was captain of all the sports he participated in school and leagues from football to basketball and track. He was quarterback for his eighth and ninth grade football team and would have continued playing, but cancer tackled him down. The coaches and teachers adored him. He was active in many organizations and was class president for the Class of 1973.
I know because of him I was very active in school, college and non-profit organizations, and even through today I continue to volunteer. I'm in many boards and committees including the Jim Wells County Relay for Life sponsorship chairwoman. He set that example of giving back to our community.
Even off the field, he loved football and would practice throwing and playing almost everyday at the local youth center. One day while he was throwing drills with other friends, his shoulder got dislocated.
My parents immediately took my brother to the hospital emergency room.
From what I can remember, almost 39 years ago, after x-rays, doctors noticed something wasn't right.
After several specialists, Albert was diagnosed with bone cancer.
But through the treatments in Houston, his body bounced back and he went into remission.
He graduated from Alice High School and went on to college at Texas A&I in Kingsville, pursuing a degree in architecture/drafting.
In his late sophomore or junior college year, unfortunately, the cancer made another visit and this time it wasn't backing down. He once again started treatments of chemotherapy and radiation. But this time the cancer won.
I share this story with you because it's that time again. The Jim Wells County Relay for Life fundraiser is underway. Teams raise money for the American Cancer Society.
The activities will kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 17 through 7 a.m. Saturday at the Alice High School practice field, where teams will gather and celebrate cancer survivors and remember those who have lost their battle to cancer.
The ceremony begins with the survivors' lap with hundreds of local individuals walking to show how they beat out cancer, thanks to new medicines, technology and research.
Volunteers are always welcomed or show up to support the cause. You can visit the website for more information at www.relayforlife.org/jimwellscotx.
Let's team up and raise funds in memory of our loved ones to save other lives.