A lioness among us, helping a vet’s family in time of need

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As I have been celebrating my two oldest children’s birthdays this week, my mind has been in several directions as there are a few people that I know that are facing a difficult time in their lives. A friend lost a long-time friend and mother in one week, and as we have been reporting on for a few months with articles and calendar events, Ana Sanchez with the Lakeside VFW Post has taken a dramatic turn for the worst.

As I have been celebrating my two oldest children’s birthdays this week, my mind has been in several directions as there are a few people that I know that are facing a difficult time in their lives. A friend lost a long-time friend and mother in one week, and as we have been reporting on for a few months with articles and calendar events, Ana Sanchez with the Lakeside VFW Post has taken a dramatic turn for the worst. She has run out of treatment for her Stage IV bladder cancer, and she has decided to spend the rest of her time at home with her husband and two children ages 4 and 12. Her current condition has progressed to hospice care.

Ana is a 15-year Marine Corps Combat Veteran and has been a continuous advocate for the VFW’s across the nation. As she served her country and her community, she served our way of life and has been one of many that have sacrificed her life in order for us to continue celebrating our lives every day in a free nation. We need to remember that as we go through our daily lives and the wonderful things that we take for granted every day. For the Sanchez family, they are taking nothing for granted, but choosing to live their lives right now day to day as best they can. And the battle is far from over.

The Lakeside VFW has rallied around Ana in a beautiful way, with many fundraisers and events to help her and her family through this entire ordeal. This is not surprising at all, because that is what fellow veterans do for each other every day regardless of what the situation might be. But this is very personal for them and I know it is not an easy thing for them to deal with, especially with her continuous activity with the Post and the District, even during treatment and multiple surgeries.

I respect Ana’s decision to spend the rest of her time with her husband and children. I would do the same. But the family needs help in this time of need. Even with all of the fundraisers, they have much to deal with emotionally, physically and financially. Though the majority of us cannot help the broken hearts, we can get involved in helping the family stay financially secure. And Ana, like the Lakeside VFW are not only involved with the Lakeside Post and other posts in the district, they are heavily involved in the Lakeside community.

As we continue to celebrate our daily lives with all of the wonderful things that we have to be grateful for, let’s turn our thoughts, prayers and actions to those who need it the most. The Sanchez family is one that needs the kind of support that none of us would want to have to deal with ourselves. Although the celebration of life is beautiful, losing a loved one, especially at such a young age with young children is something difficult to wrap our heads around unless we have lived in those shoes. I was very fortunate when cancer hit my loved one. It was the most trying time in my life living day to day not knowing what would happen, but hoping for the best. If it had not been for my family and friends that supported us in every aspect, I don’t think my family would have survived such a horrific ordeal. But, we were blessed and we made it through that time as bad as it was, and our loved one lived to beat the cancer. Yet in the back of my mind, I was always preparing for the worst-case scenario, as much as I didn’t even want to think of it.

So I am asking all that are capable to help this family in need. Their journey continues, but it is not going to be an easy road for them. And though we might not know her like her family and close friends, there are many of us out here in East County that can relate to this from our own experiences with family and friends.

The Lakeside VFW Carter-Smith Post 5867 is now taking donations through its Buddy Poppy Fund. For information about donating you can call (619) 443-0556. You can send a check with her name in the memo to Lakeside VFW Carter-Smith Post 5867, 12650 Lindo Ln., Lakeside, CA. There is also a Go Fund Me account set in her name at www.gofundme.com/anas-alternative-medical-expenses.

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