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La Clínica de La Raza Inc. | P.O. Box 22210, Oakland, CA 94623-2210 | Tel: 510-535-4000 | FAX: 510-535-4189

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If you would like more information or to discuss giving opportunities, please contact:
Amy DeBower,
Development Director
(510) 535-2911
Your contribution may be mailed to:
La Clínica de La Raza
ATTN: Development Department
PO Box 17054
Oakland, CA
94601-7054

Dear Friend of La Clínica:

In 2012 I became homeless. I was living in a shelter. I was trying to find work and get back on my feet. I thought homelessness was the worst thing that could happen to me, but then I was diagnosed with cancer.

My experience with cancer began with a troubling pin prick of blood that I had noticed on my left breast. After an appointment with my optometrist at La Clínica in October, I walked over to the Women's Services department to have it checked out.

I was assigned to a nurse practitioner named Jessica. Upon examining me, Jessica found one lump in my breast, and then another. She immediately scheduled me for a mammogram. I was terrified but Jessica reassured and comforted me.

Still, I was in shock. I walked around aimlessly, waiting for my test results.

When I returned for the results, Jessica did her best to prepare me for the news. She was incredibly caring and compassionate. She told me the lumps were already showing calcification. I had stage 3 breast cancer and the lumps would need to be removed immediately. Following the surgery, I would begin chemotherapy and radiation. She laid everything out for me step by step and helped me to understand that the process would be moving quickly from here on out, so our approach needed to be as proactive as possible.

In spite of my fears, I began making the calls, going through the motions, and making all the necessary appointments. La Clínica staff did everything they could to make my life easier during my treatment.

Without the support of my cancer team, especially Jessica, I have to imagine that my life would be very different than it is today.

La Clínica offers a service that allowed me, in spite of my homelessness and lack of insurance, to not have to deal with all the red tape. They made sure I never got lost in the system.

If my cancer had not been detected early, I might not be here today. I know for certain I wouldn't be so full of hope. But here I am.

I made it through, and I am a survivor. I'm a survivor because of early detection. I'm a survivor because of La Clínica. And I'm a survivor because of people like you who understand that every life matters, and that all people deserve care.

Thank you for being willing to share in my story, and thank you for supporting La Clínica.

Sincerely,
Maria Fortez

Click here to read a letter from our CEO, Jane García