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Eighth Grader Raising Breast Cancer Awareness

Southern Arizona Girl Scouts

Laredo Morning Times  October 15, 2017

Local tennis player Gabriela Ramirez has a love for the game that was passed down to her by her aunt Cindy Robledo. They bonded over the sport and weekends were spent with a tennis racket in hand as they traveled to tournaments. It was a game that had taken ahold of them and they never put the racket down.

This eventually led to Ramirez embarking on a tennis career for the past five years and she has been a member of the United States Tennis Association for the past two years. She is also part of the Laredo Tennis Performance Academy under coach Raul Ramos. Last weekend Ramirez took second place at the USTA Laredo Challenger Tournament in the 13-14 year old division.

Life was great for Ramirez and her aunt until the fateful day that turned her world upside down. When Ramirez was in second grade, she was hit with the news that her aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. Even at a young age she knew what a diagnosis like that could mean for a person, and that made a big impression on the young athlete. Through those trying times, Ramirez saw the strength in her aunt as she endured treatments.

"It did affect her in many way and she was always tired," Ramirez said. "She did not have the energy to play the sport anymore. To this day it makes me sad to think of those times when things were tough for her."

The diagnosis was hard on both of them, and at that time Ramirez decided to use her platform of being a member of the Girl Scouts. For the past eight years she worked her way up the ranks and has reached Cadette status in the organization. This year the Clark Middle School eighth grader embarked on a mission to bring awareness to this disease that affects one in eight women.

Ramirez, along with her Troop #9167, decided to bring light to the disease through various projects. Last week Ramirez and the Girl Scouts members Ariana Sanchez and Samantha Cardenas made over 650 care packages for cancer patients at Laredo Medical Center. With the help of the Clark Middle School, United Middle School and Alexander High School student bodies, Ramirez and the troops collected the items utilized for the care packages.

On Friday Ramirez was on hand to help plant the Tree of Hope at CMS that stands for hope, love and peace. Cancer survivors tied pink ribbons to the tree in what will become a yearly project as Ramirez helps shed light on this disease to her peers.

"We wanted to show the rest of our fellow classmates that even at this young age you can make a difference and give back to our community," Ramirez said. "This project is very close to my heart after having someone so close to me experience this."

Through these projects Ramirez always kept her aunt in mind and the fight that she had to endure. Robledo is in remission and is cancer free after fighting off the disease.

"This disease just does not affect one person, it affects the whole family," Ramirez said. "You just want to make them feel better, and when one of your family members close to you feels down so do you. All you want to do is help them and that is exactly what we were doing with these two projects, just trying to help those people in need. We were just trying to give them love and hope to put a smile on their face."

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