Flores has always played an active role in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. “Watching the sea of purple-clad survivors make their lap on foot, in a golf cart or in a wagon always brings tears to my eyes,” Monica said. “Little did I know that ACS would be an important factor in my everyday life.”
This year, the seasoned relay advocate looks at the ACS through different eyes.
Flores’ son, Xavier Lee Flores, who was born June 4, 2009, was diagnosed at birth with neuroblastoma cancer.
“Spending one day at Texas Children’s Hospital and seeing all the children who have been diagnosed with cancer is why I relay,” Monica says. “We need a cure for our little people.”
Every year approximately 12,000 children and teens are diagnosed with cancer. Each year 2,000 children under the age of 19 die from the disease. Texas accounts for about 10 percent of the cases.
For Monica, like so many other Texans, cancer has hit so close to home that finding a cure is worth all the time and effort people take to relay.
“During any relay event, you can find healing, comfort and support from others who have faced cancer or who have lost a loved one to the disease,” she says. “You have a chance to meet people in the community who are equally as passionate about finding an end to cancer in our lifetime.”
Xavier’s cancer is rare and occurs almost exclusively in infants and young children and is slightly more common in boys. The majority of cases occur in children younger than one year old.
Approximately 700 cases are diagnosed each year. The exact cause is unknown.
“As a survivor you can thank all the people who have done so much to support you through your personal cancer experience,” Monica said. “And you can gather with friends and family to laugh, cry and create lasting memories.”
This year the theme is “Celebrating More Birthdays!”
“Relay is more than just a fundraiser, it’s a life-changing experience,” she said. “Every person in the community has a chance to celebrate lives of those loved ones who have been treated or cured from cancer, remember family and friends who have lost their battle to cancer and take part and fight back.”
Monica says every person who participates joins others around the globe as part of this worldwide movement to end cancer.
Last year, Refugio County raised more than $50,000 with 17 teams. This year, the team target is 25.
If anyone is interested in helping or filling an opening on a committee, contact Monica Flores at 543-7999 or 582-4736.