Episode 160

Paying it Forward to The Rose After His Wife Died of Breast Cancer

October 25, 2023
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Gerry Garcia’s wife Ana fought breast cancer for five years before passing away in 2010.

During this mini-episode, you’ll learn about his family’s journey and how they continue to pay it forward to The Rose. 

Gerry has since remarried and his second wife Aurora was also diagnosed with breast cancer. Today, she remains cancer free.

Help us grow the show by leaving a review on your podcast platform and sharing with your family and friends. And please consider supporting our mission at therose.org. Your donation could help save the life of an uninsured woman.


Dorothy: [00:00:00] Hi, I’m Dorothy Gibbons, CEO and co founder of the Rose Breast Imaging Center of Excellence. And this mini episode of Let’s Talk About Your Breast was recorded during our last Shrimp Boil. So during this mini episode, we are talking to Gerry Garcia, who has a very special story to share. about someone he loved who went through breast cancer at a very young age.

Let’s talk about your breast. A different kind of podcast presented to you by The Rose. The Breast Center of Excellence and a Texas treasure. You’re going to hear frank discussions about tough topics. And you’re going to learn why knowing about your breast could save your life. Join us as we hear another story and we answer those tough questions that you may have.[00:01:00]

Gerry: My name is Gerry Garcia with 30 for Anna and also part of Aurora’s Army, who’s now my current wife, who’s dealing with breast cancer.

Dorothy: Gerry talk to us about Anna’s battle.

Gerry: So we started 30 for Anna years ago. I met and spoke with my brother in law, Daniel. He’s the one that came up with the idea. And back when my first wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, uh, you know, she was 30.

You know, very young, and, uh, she passed five years later battling with, uh, inflammatory breast cancer, and it was, you know, it, it hits hard. You know, you don’t expect someone that young to, to have breast cancer, especially something that not a lot of people had heard about back then. Inflammatory breast cancer was kind of new.

I don’t want to say it was new, but I guess, you know, people really didn’t know about it. And so her diagnosis came a little bit late because doctors weren’t familiar with it. They thought it was an infection. And so it kind of went undiagnosed for a little bit. And so I think she’d gone to her gynecologist [00:02:00] and somebody there said, you know what, maybe it’s cancer.

She needs to go to the Rose. We didn’t have insurance. I was self employed. And so she went to the Rose. I went with her. And then a few days later they called me. And, you know, to go up there and meet with them. That’s when we heard the news that it was cancer. At that age, hearing cancer, it, uh, it hits you hard.

Again, you know, we had been married just a couple years, and, uh, when you hear the word, it just, it devastates you. So, uh, we went to the Rose, and, uh, they spoke to me first, and then, you know, I took her up there, just kind of like, I guess, prepped me to kind of, you know, support her when she heard the news.

And, uh, it was, it was tough. So, you know, she battled for five years nonstop. It wasn’t like there was a remission. It was just constant surgeries, constant chemo.

Dorothy: And what made you want to raise money for the Rose? How did 30 for Anna even get started?

Gerry: After her passing, we want to do something not only to keep her [00:03:00] memory alive, but to also do something because the Rose really helped us out.

They again, we didn’t have insurance. And, uh, they, they pretty much navigated us through the process of getting insured. Uh, we ended up getting into MD Anderson, getting the treatment. Um, so they did a lot for us. They kind of took us in as, as part of their family. And so that’s why we’ve done so much, you know, to try to give back to them.

So when, when Danny, Daniel came up with the idea of, of running, you know, 30 miles. And it’s a course that again, you know, starts at, um, at MD Anderson where she was treated. And then a few blocks down the road. Where she was at Houston Hospice, where she spent, you know, her last days. And from there we go all the way to Deer Park, where she was laid to rest.

So it’s a 31 mile run. And so we figured, you know, let’s do this in her honor and to raise money. And I think to date, oh man, it’s uh, it’s over maybe like a hundred and something thousand dollars that we’ve raised in the past, you know, probably ten years or [00:04:00] something.

Dorothy: And now… You’ve started a new life, you’ve remarried, you have a whole blended family, and then what happened to your second wife?

Gerry: My wife, Aurora, was also diagnosed with breast cancer. And so, you know, she went through The Rose, you know, she went through the surgeries, the chemo. Right now she’s, she’s, uh, you know, she’s cancer free. She’s in remission, but she also went through the rows. And they also did a lot, not only for the, uh, for the navigation, for the mammograms, and, and the, uh, the medical portion of it, but just that, that family support.

You know, she goes in there. Uh, you know, she greets everyone. She knows everyone. Everyone gives her a hug. It’s like a family. It’s not just, uh, it’s not just like a doctor or a clinic. And so I think that’s what kind of like, uh, really bonds those people with The Rose.

Dorothy: So that wraps it up for today. And don’t forget, we’re doing a episode every single day.

You’re going to get your daily dose of Let’s Talk About Your Breasts during the month of [00:05:00] October.

Post Credits: October is the month of pink. And for the Rose, a breast center of excellence. That means we’ll be airing podcasts every day in October. To celebrate breast Cancer Awareness month, we’ll be sharing everything from bikers writing for breast cancer to areola tattoos.

Be sure to share with family and friends because there’s a little something for everyone. To find out ways to help the Rose visit our website at therose.org. Remember, self-care is not selfish. It’s essential.

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