The Santa Maria City Council took time during its Tuesday meeting to raise awareness of two devastating cancers, voting unanimously to proclaim September as Childhood Cancer and Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
Each presentation was accepted by a local hero battling and fighting to raise awareness of the cancers.
Thirteen-year-old Carys Tomilloso stood tall and proud as she accepted the Childhood Cancer Awareness Month proclamation from Councilman Michael Moats.
“She is an amazing young woman with incredible spirit,” Moats said.
In October 2016, the Lakeview Junior High School student was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin lymphoma. Tomilloso underwent six rounds of chemotherapy, with her treatment ending in February.
After her treatments, Tomilloso's life returned to normal; she started attending school again and playing softball, but her fight with cancer wasn’t over.
During a routine checkup in June, an abnormal blood test resulted in Tomilloso having to undergo another bone marrow test and a spinal tap.
“A few months later, and five months of being cancer-free, she became one of only a handful of cancer patients nationwide, children and adults, to ever be diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia after previous treatment for a different cancer diagnosis,” Moats said.
“She is a fighter a warrior and a true hero to anyone who meets her,” he added.
Though Carys didn’t want to speak during Tuesday’s meeting, her mother, Jennifer, thanked the city and everyone for their support.
Tuesday evening’s other cancer hero, Cristina Martins Sinco, accepted a proclamation read by Councilman Mike Cordero making September Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in the city of Santa Maria.
Sinco is president and co-founder of The Teal Journey Ovarian Cancer Foundation.
Her group was founded to directly help local women battling ovarian cancer and bring awareness to the cause through education and early detection.
Sinco was touched by ovarian cancer when her mother was diagnosed with the cancer and ultimately lost her battle. Sinco left a 25-year career in nursing to care for her mother the last few months of her life. Now, she is an ovarian cancer advocate and educator. She is a Teal ambassador for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition and is affiliated with other national ovarian cancer organizations.
“Ovarian cancer is the deadliest of gynecological cancers. It is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths in women; 22,000 women will be diagnosed with it this year and 14,000 of them will lose their lives,” Sinco said.
Only one in 75 women will be diagnosed with this disease.
“There is no diagnostic tool, which is why awareness is so important,” Sinco said.
The meeting Tuesday was held at 5:30 p.m., the first earlier start time for the council. The next City Council meeting is slated for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at City Hall.