In October 1991, the life of Alicia Almanza would change dramatically. Alicia a recent high school graduate and the single parent of a newborn baby girl would be faced with cancer. Alicia diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, a rare malignancy of secretory glands, typically originating in the salivary glands. This cancer typically has a slow and sometimes relentless, progression characterized by frequent recurrences and metastases to sites such as the lungs, brain, liver and bones.
For 22 years, our "BRAVE WARRIOR ALICIA" fought an amazing battle. In 2005, Alicia traveled to MD Anderson in hopes of treatment for the lung metastases. Oncologists advised Alicia that, due to the rarity of her cancer diagnosis, there were no treatment options. According to oncologists, “orphan cancers” such as Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma receive very little research funding. Alicia was advised by oncologists to return home and enjoy what life she had left. What devastating news this would be for Alicia, family, and friends.
What Alicia chose to do next shocked us all. Baffled by the idea that this disease could be deemed less worthy of research funding than any other was not acceptable for Alicia, or for her loved ones. So, Alicia returned home and brainstormed with her daughter, Courtney, to forever change the direction of Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma.
In 2006, Alicia, family, and friends launched a non-profit organization, the Attack ACC Foundation. Alicia declared that Attack ACC’s mission would focus on raising funding towards ACC research, spreading awareness of ACC, and networking support for ACC families worldwide. To date, Attack ACC has raised over $193,000 towards the research of Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, and provided support, awareness, and an extended family to ACC survivors, as well as to the countless families who have lost their loved ones to this relentless disease.
In those 22 years that Alicia battled ACC, she was diagnosed with brain, lung, spine, salivary, liver, and kidney mets. With each recurrence, she would simply respond, “It is what it is.” She often shared John Wayne’s quote: “Courage is being scared to death but still saddling up anyway.” It is through this courage that Alicia taught us valuable lessons about hope, strength, determination, love, and compassion. But even further, it is through the work that she did with Attack ACC that she taught us about our own ability to make a difference in the lives of others. Through Alicia’s guidance, we have learned that it is what it is and it will be what WE make it!
On Christmas Day 2013, surrounded by family, our brave warrior Alicia traded in her "BRAVE, STRONG & DETERMINED" superhero cape for a set of angel wings. She will forever be our beautiful and loving guardian angel. Though it saddens us that a treatment did not surface in time for Alicia, we will continue her fight and share the story of the girl who made a difference in the world of Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma.
Please join family and friends of Attack ACC on Saturday, September 6th, 2014. We’ll be holding our 8th annual Attack ACC Alicia Almanza Memorial Family Fun Run/Walk at Hickory Creek Junction, located 1 mile west of Wolf Road & Lincoln Highway in Mokena, IL.
Thank you to everyone who has supported our mission, and we look forward to seeing you all this September 6th!
|Copyright - Attack
IN LOVING MEMORY OF ALICIA ALMANZA, NANCY
HARMENING, HELEN WISZOWATY, ERIN MELIN, LEIGH HLAVAC, KEVIN ROBINSON, TRICIA MASON, MATT TOURTILLOTT, CAROL SUE CROSSETT, KELLIE FOY MARTIN, SHAKER "JACK" MANSOUR, JENNIFER BERNSTEIN, JOSEPH SCRIPSICK AND JIMMY WALSH
KEVIN ROBINSON, TRICIA MASON, MATT TOURTILLOTT, CAROL SUE CROSSETT, KELLIE FOY MARTIN,
SHAKER "JACK" MANSOUR, JENNIFER BERNSTEIN, JOSEPH SCRIPSICK AND JIMMY WALSH