Nacire Garcia’s life changed when she learned her brother, Alvaro Zuluaga, had mantle cell lymphoma. “Seeing my brother close to death, battling between living and dying, and being powerless to do anything, and at the same time receiving help from people you’ve never met in your life, is an amazing experience. It touches your heart and you want to give back. “
And she has. She donates monthly to the UNC Comprehensive Cancer Support Program. “I want to support the program, but I don’t have the means to give a big sum,” Nacire explains. “The best option for me to give steadily on a long-term basis.”
Nacire works at UNC Health Care as a clinical trials study coordinator for the Department of Psychiatry. “I knew we had an outstanding cancer center at UNC that so many people talked about. That’s why I went to the Resource Center as soon as my brother was diagnosed. Everyone there was so helpful. We were grateful, and I wanted to give back to help other people who don’t have the means that I do.”
Alvaro is being treated by Dr. Kristy Richards and after he completes chemotherapy, he will undergo a bone marrow transplant. He attends the support group for patients when he’s in for his chemotherapy.
She reflects, “I have never gone through anything like this in my life. You always think it’s going to happen to someone else. You never think it’s going to touch home so closely. What happened to my brother could have happened to me, to my husband or to my child. It changes your life completely. That’s why I want to help the Support Program on an ongoing basis. ”