South San Francisco, CA June 20, 2017 CLICK HERE TO HELP SSF WALTER GARCIA
He was raised in the Mission District of San Francisco and choose to make South San Francisco his home as an adult over 30 years ago. As a neighbor in the Sterling Terrace neighborhood, nestled up against Sign Hill with San Bruno Mountain across the way, Walter Garcia, and his wife Josephine Huerta, raised their daughter Gaby. They have always been committed to our City, to our community, and to our students especially. Now we need to commit to them in helping Walter as he wages the battle of his life, for his life, after being diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer.
Walter has been working with our South San Francisco Unified School District for over 17 years, the past five years at El Camino High School as the Supervisor/ Lead Custodian. He has made a difference in the life of many students and teachers during his career while also serving at Los Cerritos and Baden Adult School. He has spent his life giving to our community.
His wife Josephine is also a big giver to our community and those who know her agree her heart is huge. Josephine, or Ms. Jo as her students affectionally call her, is a paraprofessional who exudes a loving passion in her work with the South San Francisco Unified School District Adult Transition Program. (This is a unique post high school program designed for students with disabilities ages 18 – 22 years old to further support educational opportunities, explore job possibilities, and continue to promote independent life skills.)
Daughter Gaby was graduated from South San Francisco High School in 2009 after attending Sunshine Gardens Elementary and Parkway Heights Middle School. Gaby, along with her mom, is right there fighting this battle with Walter knowing he has much more life to live. They are determined to do all that they can to make this happen and this is where our community comes in.
Gaby has created a GoFundMe page asking for donations to help them since Walter is not currently able to work, (disability/unemployment have been denied) which results in zero money. This is from a family that is always use to helping others, it can be quite humbling, when givers become askers and they don’t take this request lightly. Gaby has included information on cancer screenings on the site to help others, which is again a virtue instilled in the Garcia family. Always helping others. Click HERE to help!
While we receive many requests for financial assistance, and all for very worthy causes, this one really hits hard. This family is our family. This family is part of our educational system, making a huge impact on us all. We are hoping if you read more about the members of Walter’s family you would remember encounters with them, and know of their good hearts.
Now is our time to step forward and help. If each resident in our City gave even one dollar, what a huge difference we can make. Along with our prayers, good thoughts, and encouraging words, we can give back to this family that has given so much. And please share this request so others can donate, offer up prayers, read the good information offered on cancer screenings.
Walter’s Story from the GoFundMe Site
In October 2016, Walter was diagnosed with Stage 3 Esophageal Cancer. He endured chemotherapy and radiation for months, and was scheduled for surgery in February. Upon getting prepared for surgery to remove the tumor in his esophagus, a small tumor was found in his liver. In February 2017, he had a 10 hour surgery at UCSF to remove the tumor in his esophagus – where they removed two-thirds of his esophagus, resectioned his stomach, pulled it up to his chest, and attached it to the remainder of the esophagus. They also removed the small tumor in the liver. His latest scan (May 2017) showed another small tumor in his liver, close to the one that was treated. He is currently undergoing chemotherapy to treat the new tumor.
After surgery, and before finding the second tumor in his liver, he was very hopeful and excited to get on the road to recovery and return to his “normal” life. This included returning full-time to work at El Camino High School, where he has been employed with the South San Francisco Unified School District for 17 years. He couldn’t wait to go back.
Since the beginning of his diagnosis, he has lost 60lbs, and is trying his best to slowly regain it. However, due to the weight loss, treatments, and his overall condition, he is unable to return to work. This results in having $0 monthly income.
As we all know, living in the Bay Area can be very expensive, even while being employed. Having no income but still having financial responsibilties is now another challenge Walter faces. He has applied for disability and unemployment, but was denied. Luckily, he still has medical insurance, but since he is a resident of San Mateo County, he might not be able to continue his great care at UCSF, since it is out of county. This case is currently pending, and we are hopeful that it can be settled soon so he can continue care at UCSF.
In addition to traditional medical treatments, we are also seeking alternative therapies, that are usually not covered by insurance. As these therapies are known to be successful, especially for cancer patients, the costs are solely out of pocket and can be expensive.
With treatments, rent, bills, gas, and everyday costs of living, expenses are adding up quick. Walter’s family contributes all they can, but that is still not reasonably enough to cover all costs and expenses.
Although metastatic cancer (cancer that has spread) is an unfavorable situation statistically, with love, support, faith, hope, prayers, resources, treatments, and alternative therapies, we are very hopeful and positive he will begin his healing process soon, and can eventually return to that “normal” life of his.
Anyone who knows Walter, knows he is the most loving, caring, helpful, and kind person one can ever meet. He would literally give the shirt off his back to someone, then go buy another, not for himself – but to give to that person so they can have two shirts just in case. Whether you are a person, an animal, or any living object, please be aware that if you are in need, you are coming home with Walter (LOL). He is well known in his community – from being a South San Francisco resident for 30+ years, to his native Mission District where he grew up, to throughout the school district, and all extended family and friends from all over – People love and adore Walter. He is nothing short of genuine, and any and all who know him can agree.
Like with anything he does, he goes above and beyond – with his family, with his job, and now with his health. He has made huge lifestyle changes for the better, and always remains positive, hopeful, and grateful. He has never once questioned the situation or asked “Why me?”. He just accepts the challenge, learns from it, and will overcome it.
Cancer changes a person – physically, mentally, and emotionally. As this is the most difficult journey Walter and his family have faced, giving up hope has never been or will ever be an option. It’s funny how life works sometimes. Although this is the worst news one could receive, it has allowed us to see the all the positives in life, instead of the negatives. We have always been big on family and love, and this situation allows us to see the small things that the everyday person isn’t able to, without experiencing something like this. We are still blessed beyond measure, and are grateful for everything we do have. We know in time, everything will turn out for the better.
Whether it be a donation, a prayer, support, or just love – anything and everything is accepted and appreciated more than you will ever know. We thank you so much for taking the time to read this.
Please share and help us spread the word.
P.S. We cannot stress enough how important it is to take care of your body, mind, and soul. Making better lifestyle choices, staying on top of your health, and working to obtain a longer, greater quality of life is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family. Most diseases are caused by what we eat, drink, consume, put into/on our body, how we live, environmental factors, etc., but can totally be preventable. Prevention and early detection is key. Get your monthly, yearly check ups, and always check in with your doctor if you feel something is off – even the smallest of things. Timing is key. This can all help save lives, and we refuse to see anyone else go through the same struggle.
Heartburn can cause cancer! This is a main cause of Esophageal Cancer. Know the signs and symptoms, of all cancers and diseases.
Whether you are religious or not, we hope whatever your beliefs are, continue to bless you. One love.
-The Garcia Family on behalf of Walter