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Benefit to help advocate in battle against cancer

By JR Ortega
Nov. 26, 2011 at 5:26 a.m.
Updated Nov. 27, 2011 at 5:27 a.m.

Victorian Hispanic rights activist Clara Ramos explains the value of a 1-800 number hotline to District Attorney Steve Tyler in his office on August 27, 2009.

Clara Ramos pushed for a Head Start program to operate independently in Victoria.

Years later, she founded the League of United Latin American Citizens in Victoria County and helped a Silver City woman behind on her taxes receive well-deserved grant money to fix her home.

However, today she's fighting a different battle - cancer - and now others are coming to her rescue.

Returning favors

"She's definitely a fighter," said Chris Rivera, a friend of Ramos for the past 20 years.

Rivera, along with other friends of Ramos, are planning a barbecue and auction benefit on Dec. 4 for Ramos' medical expenses accrued from chemotherapy and radiation sessions.

Ramos was diagnosed with cervical cancer in late September and two months later is at the end of her treatment.

The harsh treatments have thinned her hair some, but her spirit is still as strong as ever, he said.

Rivera has served beside her for several community projects through Majica, her Mexican Americans Joined in Community Affairs nonprofit.

"She's just a community helper," he said. "If there is ever a cause, Clara Ramos is there."

Humbling experience

Ramos blames no one for her cancer but herself.

She felt as if she had been stabbed or shot when she learned about her stage 2 cancer.

Ramos went five years without a pap smear, so she feels it may have been preventative.

"I'm going to be advocating for females to please get checked," she said, with passion in her voice. "Get those pap smears done."

Being the focus of a benefit is not something Ramos is used to, but she is humbled by the effort.

"I never expected to have to ask for any kind of help," she said. "I've always felt I was put here to help people. Not to get help."

Ramos has insurance, but even then, the medical bills have drowned her financially.

How cancer affects a person doesn't sink in until it actually happens, Ramos said.

Despite the cancer, Ramos said she plans to be back fighting for justice when she beats the cancer.

It's one of the biggest battles she's ever fought, but she plans to emerge victorious, she said.

"I've fought for so many people in Victoria," she said. "It's time to put that aside for a while and fight for myself. We need a watchdog here in Victoria."

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