Cure Cancer Cards help those in needBookmark this
Unique fundraiser gives you big discounts at local retailers
Proceeds support cancer research and patient assistance
When Shawne Stewart-Zakaria started the toughest battle of her life after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, she would need every ounce of energy she could muster.
After chemotherapy and radiation treatments, along with patient assistance she received from the Mays Center, Stewart-Zakaria is a 12-year cancer survivor and here to tell her story.
“There were times when I didn’t even know if I was going to make it because I was just so ill,” she said, “but I wanted to fight so that I could be around for my daughter, who was two years old at the time, to help shape the person she will become.”
Having survived such an ordeal and enduring the toll cancer took on her mind and body, Stewart-Zakaria became a member of the SA Cancer Council (SACC) several years ago to help other women who are now battling cancer, just as she once did. Having experienced firsthand how vital the Cancer Council’s services are to patients, Stewart-Zakaria wants other cancer patients to receive the same kind of help that she did.
The Cure Cancer Card is an annual fundraiser of the SACC. When cancer strikes those who are financially burdened, it hits especially hard. Getting to treatment can be difficult and exhausting. Financial trade-offs are often made between nutrition and medicine. Days in treatment are often days not worked or paid.
For 35 years, the SACC has raised money for patient assistance and pilot research at the Mays Cancer Center. “Over 3,500 patients a year need our help; over 180 clinical trials are ongoing to explore new approaches to fighting cancer,” said Liz Conklyn, co-chair of this year’s Cure Cancer Card fundraiser.
During a 10-day shopping period from October 18 through October 27, a $50 Cure Cancer Card entitles purchasers to 20% discounts from hundreds of retail locations in San Antonio and Boerne; 100% of proceeds from card sales support research and patient assistance at the Mays Cancer Center. To purchase a card and to see a list of participating retailers, visit www.sacancercouncil.org or call (210) 450-5571.
“Every dollar helps fight cancer, and every dollar stays in San Antonio,” Conklyn said. “So when you buy a Cure Cancer Card, you help change the story for someone diagnosed with cancer. We are asking the community not to let cancer have the last word.”
Meanwhile, immediately after her cancer diagnosis, Stewart-Zakaria went into “research mode” to find the best team of doctors who could treat her. “When I called the Cancer Center, the first thing they did was ask how soon I could come in. I met with Dr. Murali Beeram. He answered all my questions and discussed treatment options. He even gave me his cell phone number in case I had more questions,” she said. (At the time, the Mays Cancer Center was called the Cancer Therapy & Research Center. Now that it is the Mays Cancer Center, it’s home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center.)
Her treatment included six months of chemotherapy and radiation, which left her weak, nauseous, mentally drained and confined to her bed. Life for Stewart-Zakaria hung on a thread. Her friends, however, brought over food, did the laundry and took her daughter swimming or to the movies, so that she could have a normal life while her mother recovered.
Because her husband had to keep his business running and her friends all worked full time, she was extremely grateful for the transportation services she received courtesy of the SACC to and from her chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
“I wouldn’t have had any other way to get there,” she said.
Today, she is proud to participate with the SACC whose members are dedicated to making a difference in the fight against cancer.
“Shawne continues to be a shining light for all of us on the Council. Her courage and determination to win her cancer battle are an inspiration to us all,” said Cheryl Wright, SACC president.
or call (210) 450-557