Cougar promotes awareness, helps sister fight cancer
When integrated communications senior Martha Garcia discovered that her 13-year-old sister was diagnosed with cancer, her immediate reaction was to help not only her sister but also the community.
When Garcia’s sister, Jacklyne, was diagnosed with stage two of Hodgkin lymphoma in June 2013, she decided to find out more about the disease.
Garcia joined the Lymphoma Research Foundation.
“I found the organization online when I was trying to find out more information about the disease,” Garcia said. “It is really rare, and no one really hears about it. I joined and wanted to help in any way that I could to get the word out.”
The Lymphoma Research Foundation is a nonprofit organization devoted to funding lymphoma research and providing up-to-date information about this type of cancer to people and healthcare professionals.
Each year, the foundation hosts a non-competitive 5K walk for lymphoma survivors, caregivers, loved ones and friends to show support for one another while raising funds for lymphoma research and programs.
This year, the Houston Lymphomathon will be held at 9 a.m. on April 26 in Stude Park. Jacklyne will walk with her middle-school friends to support the foundation and raise enough money to meet her goal.
“I volunteered her because I want her to meet people that have the same disease, and I want her to make friends, because there are a lot of kids that have her same disease,” Garcia said. “I just wanted her to have an opportunity to get out there and help others, because she may not know or understand now, but she is actually lucky that her cancer was diagnosed early other than other people that can’t.”
Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system and occurs when the lymph node cells or the lymphocytes begin to multiply uncontrollably, producing malignant cells that have the abnormal ability to invade other tissues throughout the body.
The lymphatic system is a network of nodes connected by vessels that drain fluid and waste products from the body. The lymph nodes act as tiny filters, straining out foreign organisms and cells.
The lymphatic system also is involved in producing important white blood cells called lymphocytes that help protect the body against infections caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi.
“The good news is that Hodgkin’s lymphoma is very treatable these days, and many people live a long and healthy life after diagnosis. This is starting to be the case for types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as well,” said Dr. Scott Spear, executive director and chief physician at the University Health Center.
For more information, visit the Lymphoma Research Foundation.