Anna Gonzales

Thyroid cancer survivor Anna with her brother, Angel.

Clinical and Administrative Medical Assisting student Maira Ruiz has known Anna Gonzales since they met in a 7th grade Bakersfield classroom; that means 17-years of girl giggles, difficult life experiences and everything in between.

The hardest time came when Anna was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2011. Anna underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments and is now, gratefully, cancer-free.

Anna may be done with cancer, but she is still very much involved in helping others still struggling to conquer this pervasive disease.  Most recently Anna set a goal for herself to raise $800 for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. The local Wasco/Shafter event was held at the Wasco High School football field on April 24th. Participants started the race/walk at 8:00 AM and walked, rested, and walked some more all through the night, until the next morning. Booths were set up to educate the public and raise funds for the American Cancer Society.

Anna invited everyone she knew to participate by joining the race or raising funds to help the cause.

Anna hoped to raise $800 for her team, A Walk for Beauty.

Maira could not be there for the race, but she could help Anna reach her fundraising goal.

As president of the campus CAMA Club, Maira told the club about her friend, Anna, her struggle with cancer and her need for financial support for her team’s Relay for Life.

“The club agreed, with excitement on their faces,” says CAMA Club Advisor, Steven Prince, “and the wheels began turning on how to raise the money for such an important cause.”

The 25-plus CAMA Club members have a reputation for great food sales at break time on campus, so food sales was a given. They also did dress-down days and gave participating students silicone wristbands with “A Walk for Beauty – Relay for Life’ imprinted in support of the event and Anna’s team.

In just one week before the race was to take place, the CAMA Club raised $1,000 for Anna which, combined with $400 she had raised on her own, gave her $600 over her goal.

“I am so proud of the club for their teamwork and commitment to the club in helping out the community in Bakersfield,” says Mr. Prince.

Maira was excited to give Anna the good news. “Anna was very grateful – and amazed that we raised that much money in so short of time,” says Maira. “It made us all feel good about helping her and an organization that helps so many others.”

Friendships have a way of doing that.

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