Mom and sister fight breast cancer

In January, we learned that our mom Clarita was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. Soon after, she had a mastectomy and is currently undergoing chemotherapy for the next few months.

Clarita is a bright light, spreading love to all those around her. As the oldest of 10 siblings, she's the matriarch and stronghold of our ever-growing family. To me and everyone else...she's mama. After her parents died when she was young, she raised many of her siblings.

And Clarita continues to selflessly give and serve -- whether it's taking care of her grandkids and overseeing the household, joyously and spiritedly celebrating life events or being the first one at the hospital or house of someone sick or in need.

Last month, we were devastated to learn that my sister Hazel was also diagnosed with breast cancer - Stage 4. Like our mama, Hazel exudes love and joy. You can't help but feel happy when you're around her. She's the mom of three boys, ages 4, 7 and 13. She brings a sense of peace to those around her.

Hazel had just started her chemotherapy and will be having surgery soon once she goes through a few rounds.

Fighting cancer isn't their only battle. Healthcare costs are higher than ever. Also, my father is a veteran. Even with the insurance they do have, it doesn't even begin to cover all of the ever-growing costs.

Now- we're asking for your help. Hazel and Clarita have touched so many lives - mine included. I hope to spend several more years with them - seeing first-hand the influence they'll continue to make in this world.
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Arlene Woodyard 
New York, NY
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