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COASTAL BEND MEDICAL MAGAZINE

DECADES OF DEDICATION FIRST FRIDAY PINK LINKS

HEART OF GOLD

INSPIRED STYLE

Ashley Ramirez

SEPT.OCT 2017

DR. J. MARK MORALES I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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Cornerstone Home Health Cornerstone Home Health can provide a service or a combination of services in your HOME. Along with your physician and our qualified staff, we plan, coordinate, and provide care tailored to your needs.

Services we offered include: Skilled nursing, Physical therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Social Worker, and CNA

If you have any questions or want to make a referral, contact our office at 361-727-2131 or Toll free 1-855-328-2131

2600 Lakeview Dr. Suite 2C | Rockport, Tx 78382

AAdi Home Health & Hospice Services AAdi Home Health is a full service home health and hospice agency. We provide quality nursing services and outstanding support services. The staff at AAdi Home Health has the experience, dedication and compassion needed to provide care in a home environment without sacrificing quality or safety.

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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ST CE R RT OK IFI E E D

10 Early Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive movement disorder. Some symptoms of the disease are easy to see, while others are hard to detect. The National Parkinson Foundation offers these 10 early warning signs of Parkinson’s disease: 1. Tremor or shaking of a body part

7. Voice becomes softer or lower

2. Handwriting becomes smaller 3. Loss of smell

8. Serious look on your face even when you’re not in a bad mood

4. Trouble sleeping

9. Dizziness or fainting

5. Trouble moving or walking

10. Stooping or hunching over

6. Constipation

No one symptom necessarily means that you have the disease, as it may be caused by another condition. However, if you are experiencing symptoms, don’t hesitate to visit your physician. To learn more about how Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital helps patients with Parkinson’s disease, call 361-906-3700.

CCRH.ERNESTHEALTH.COM 2

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5726 Esplanade Drive • Corpus Christi, TX 78414 • ph: 361.906.3700 I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M


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Health, Beauty & Confidence

NEW PATIENTS ALWAYS WELCOME!

James Duncan, DDS, PA

Joy Cunningham, RDH • Christi Cantrell, RDH

Laser Dentistry Pinhole Surgical Technique Implant Restoration Family Dentistry Cosmetic Dentistry www.duncandentalstudio.com

Duncan Dental S

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240 Reliant Drive, Portland, TX

(Across from Northshore Cinema 8 on Buddy Ganem)

361-643-3030

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#

It’s not just what you do, it’s who you do it for.

I’m here to help you plan for the future so you can continue all the good you do in your life.

Annie J. Castro, LUTCF, CLU® Agent, New York Life Insurance Company 4466 S. Staples Corpus Christi, Texas 78411 (361) 986-1321 ajcastro@ft.newyorklife.com www.anniejcastro.com Registered Representative offering investments through NYLIFE Securities LLC (Member FINRA/ SIPC), A Licensed Insurance Agency.

Life Insurance. Retirement. Investments. SMRU1614160(Exp.08/07/2016) © 2013 New York Life Insurance Company, 51 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010

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Take a Minute to Save a Life! #CPRSAVESLIVES

It’s easy to learn this lifesaving skill.

Watch the 60-second demonstration video on Hands-Only CPR at heart.org/handsonlycpr and share it with the important people in your life. For resources in Spanish, go to heart.org/rcp.

If you are called on to give CPR in an emergency, you will most likely be trying to save the life of someone you love: a child, a spouse, a parent or a friend.

CPR CAN: WHY?:

:60

When a person has a cardiac arrest, survival d e p e n d s on getting

immediate CPR from someone nearby.

DOUBLE or even TRIPLE a victim’s chance of survival. Chest compressions push oxygen-rich blood through the body to keep vital organs alive. Hands-Only CPR buys time until EMS arrives.

The American Heart Association’s Hands-Only CPR campaign is supported by an educational grant from the Anthem Foundation.

The AHA still recommends CPR with compressions and breaths for infants and children and victims of drowning, drug overdose, or people who collapse due to breathing problems. Hands-Only CPR training does not result in an AHA Course Completion Card. ©2017, American Heart Association. DS-12068 4/17

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WE WILL PUT YOU BACK IN THE GAME OF LIFE

TREATMENTS AND PROGRAMS FOR: Musculoskeletal Injuries Pregnancy (Pre/Post Natal Care) Diabetes Fall Prevention Neuropathy Cardiovascular Therapy Osteoarthritis Vertigo (Dizziness) Osteoporosis Athletic Rehab (Sport Specific) Thoracic-Outlet Syndrome Orthotic Evaluation/Fabriation Pre-Op/Post-Operative Therapy

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ALL 6 LOCATIONS OFFER CAREFULLY DESIGNED AND SUPERVISED EXERCISE PROGRAMS IN STATE OF THE ART GYMS AND LARGE INDOOR HEATED POOLS:

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PORTLAND 114 Lang Rd. • 361.643.8243

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ROCKPORT 1811 Broadway (a.k.a. Fulton Beach Rd.) 361.729.8777


CONTENTS SEPTEMBER.OCTOBER 2017

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PATIENT 14 Living with Parkinson’s Disease

16 Tooth be Told 18 Endless Possibilities

NONPROFIT 30 When Abusers are Also Victims

32 Take a Walk

INSPIRED STYLE 34 Ashley Ramirez

20 COVER STORY

DR. J. MARK MORALES In a true spirit of caring, this seasoned cardiothoracic surgeon heals the hearts and changes the lives of patients from Corpus Christi to El Salvador, all while treating each patient like family.

24 PROFILE

FIRST FRIDAY PINK LINKS With its Pink Links fundraiser, FIRST FRIDAY demonstrates its decades-long dedication to the women of South Texas with a focus on improving access to mammograms and awareness of breast cancer.

COVER AND TABLE OF CONTENTS PHOTOS BY: RAYMOND GRAY

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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MEET THE STAFF COASTAL BEND MEDICAL MAGAZINE

SEPTEMBER.OCTOBER 2017

ADRIAN GARZA

CO-PUBLISHER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SALES adrian@ inspirecoastalbendmag.com 361.548.1044

CO-PUBLISHER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SALES Adrian Garza

CO-PUBLISHER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS Holly Duvall

EDITOR Erin O’Brien

ART DIRECTOR HOLLY DUVALL

CO-PUBLISHER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS holly@ inspirecoastalbendmag.com 479.935.0868

Elisa Giordano

SOCIAL MEDIA Morgan Bartel

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dr. James Duncan Dr. Michael Fuentes Dr. Anna Hagler Trista M. Martinez Erin Wilder

PHOTOGRAPHY Raymond Gray MC Studio Workz

ERIN O’BRIEN

EDITOR erin.editorial@gmail.com

www.inspirecoastalbendmag.com ELISA GIORDANO ART DIRECTOR hello@elisagcreative.com 210.716.5320

For advertising information, please call 361.548.1044 or email adrian@inspirecoastalbendmag.com. For editorial comments and suggestions, please call 479.935.0868 or email holly@inspirecoastalbendmag.com.

MORGAN BARTEL SOCIAL MEDIA morgan@ inspirecoastalbendmag.com 620.417.5392

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MEDIA GROUP

Copyright 2017 © Inspire Coastal Bend Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction without the expressed written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Printed in Mexico

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I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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PATIENT

LIVING WITH PARKINSON’S DISEASE

How inpatient rehabilitation facilities can help achieve the best possible outcomes for patients and their families By: DR. MICHAEL FUENTES

 Tremors or shaking of a body part  Slowness of movements  Difficulty with walking or balance  Muscle stiffness or rigidity  Voice softening or slurring of words  Loss of automatic movements such as eye blinking or smiling  Handwriting becoming smaller  Stooping or hunching over While there is no known cause or cure for Parkinson’s disease, individuals can take an active role in their health to help control symptoms and manage the disease. Research has shown that a combined focus on medication management and intensive rehabilitation in an inpatient rehabilitation setting can dramatically improve function and quality of life in individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Individuals treated through inpatient rehabilitation facilities are offered the latest in rehabilitative technology and a multidisciplinary approach that provides the expertise of numerous health

care professionals including physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, dietitians, pharmacists, case managers, nurses and more. Members of the health care team work with the individual, family members and his or her physician to develop a customized plan of care to meet needs and goals. The treatments provided by the multidisciplinary team can address a number of issues, including:

 Posture  Impaired memory, problemsolving and behavior  Communication  Self-care skills such as feeding and dressing  Bowel and bladder training  Depression management  Education on fall prevention and home safety  Voice and speech impairments  Range of motion, trunk mobility and rigidity reduction

 Medication management  Muscle tone/tremor management  Balance  Walking difficulty  Speed of movements  Fatigue and endurance  Use of adaptive equipment  Swallowing  Deep brain stimulator monitoring

Members of the health care team remain aware of each other, communicate regularly and coordinate treatments and medications to allow for the best possible outcome. If you would like to learn more about Parkinson’s disease treatments available at Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital, call 361-906-3700.

Dr. Michael Fuentes is the medical director of Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital. For more information, visit www.ccrh.ernesthealth.com, call 361-906-3700 or visit the hospital at 5726 Esplanade Drive in Corpus Christi, Texas.

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THARUN15/BIGSTOCK.COM

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arkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive movement disorder. One of the first steps to living with the disease is to understand it. When an individual has Parkinson’s disease, vital nerve cells in the brain – called neurons – malfunction and die. Some of these dying neurons produce dopamine, a chemical that sends messages to the part of the brain that controls the body’s movement and coordination. The amount of dopamine decreases as Parkinson’s disease progresses, which causes difficulty for an individual to control his or her body’s movements. More than one million people live with Parkinson’s disease in the United States, with symptoms varying from person to person. Some symptoms of the disease are easy to see, while others are hard to detect. Symptoms often begin on one side of the body, but eventually affect both sides as the disease progresses. Signs of Parkinson’s disease can include:

MORE THAN ONE MILLION PEOPLE LIVE WITH PARKINSON’S DISEASE IN THE UNITED STATES.


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PATIENT

TOOTH BE TOLD

The innovative, minimally invasive Pinhole Surgical Technique offers an effective new way for patients to fight gum recession.

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he most abundant protein in the body is collagen. This extracellular fibrous structural protein makes up 25 to 35 percent of our bodies, representing our connective tissues like in bone, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, cornea, blood vessels, skin, muscles and the dentin of our teeth. From the Greek word for glue, “kólla,” the word, “collagen,” means “glue producer.” Yes, sadly, this was derived from the early practice of boiling the tendons and skin of horses and other animals to create actual glue. So collagen is the “glue” that holds our bodies together.

Today, collagen matrices, which are predominantly derived from bovine, are being used to help treat burn victims to grow new skin, as well as in orthopedics to provide a matrix to grow bone. Of course, we must not exclude the more popular cosmetic use of collagen in derma fillers. You know, the fillers to plump and fill the lips, and to fill in loose and sagging skin to hide those age indicating wrinkles. This wonderful protein matrix is also used in dentistry to help combat periodontitis, the destructive gum disease and attachment loss we refer to as “receding gums.” Receding gums (gingival recession) is

MOST RECENT RESEARCH ON TREATING GUM RECESSION HAS SHOWN THAT IN ALMOST HALF (47 PERCENT) OF PEOPLE WITH GUM RECESSION, THE GUMS WILL CONTINUE TO RECEDE OVER THEIR LIFETIME IF UNTREATED.

a result of usually multiple factors that must be addressed. The fabulous news is now we can reverse receding gums with long-term results and great success, thanks to a new, patented procedure called Pinhole Surgical Technique (PST), which utilizes collagen. Pinhole is an innovative, minimally invasive procedure that requires no sutures and no scalpel to accomplish gum rejuvenation, with 80 percent of patients having 100 percent success. Most recent research on treating gum recession has shown that in almost half (47 percent) of people with gum recession, the gums will continue to recede over their lifetime if untreated. In comparison, those people who receive some form of rejuvenating treatment will experience more than 80 percent success covering over the recession. PST is done by placing this wonderful protein collagen under the gums and around the teeth where recession has occurred through a small pinhole located above the teeth. After healing, this fast-absorbed collagen will provide thicker gums that can attach back on the teeth closer to their original location, giving a more aesthetic, youthful smile. Most importantly, this innovative procedure of gum rejuvenation treats and protects against attachment loss of the teeth.

Pinhole requires no sutures and no scalpel to accomplish gum rejuvenation. For more information, visit Duncan Dental Studio online at www.duncandentalstudio.com.

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OCSKAY BENCE/BIGSTOCK.COM

By: DR. JAMES DUNCAN


24 Hour Skilled Nursing Care | Short-Term Rehabilitation Long-Term Care | IV Therapy & Trachs | Advanced Wound Care | Hospice & Respite Care Physical, Occupational & Speech Therapy | PICC Line & In-House X-Ray Services

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CONTRACTED FACILITY

24-Hour Admissions Hotline (361) 205-9677

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PATIENT

ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES

Platelet rich plasma: how regenerative medicine is changing the face of aesthetics By: DR. ANNA HAGLER

WHAT IS PRP? PRP is a natural product obtained from our own blood – all it takes to harvest this magical potion is a small blood draw similar to having laboratory work done. After drawing, the sample is placed into a centrifuge that spins and separates the blood into three fractions: 1. Plasma rich in platelets 2. Plasma poor in platelets 3. Red blood cells HOW DOES PRP WORK? The fraction for regenerative use is the plasma rich in platelets: little acellular fragments that carry a multitude of growth factors that stimulate other cells in the body to heal and rejuvenate. With approximately eight times the normal concentration of platelets in our blood, the PRP is injected directly into the body area needing repair. Once injected, these little depositories of growth factors release them into the tissue to stimulate local cells. WHAT CAN PRP TREAT? Prior to making its debut in aesthetic medicine, PRP has been used in fields like sports medicine, surgery and rheumatology. Its application varies from treating bursitis, plantar fasciitis and to bone fractures, joint arthritis and surgical wound healing. With decades of proven safety and ease of application,

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it is no surprise it finally made it into aesthetics. In the face and décolletage, your existing collagen is increased to improve skin quality, volume and elasticity. The treatment can be used for rejuvenating aging skin that lost tone and volume, for treatment of fine lines and wrinkles and even for scars – whether post acne or surgical. In the breasts, existing fat cells proliferate to increase volume to regain a youthful, full shape. PRP can even be used with previous breast augmentation patients looking to increase cleavage. Hair restoration is achieved by stimulation of the hair follicles. While many factors play a role in hair loss and thinning, PRP can help slow the progression of loss and store growth in those areas. Other body applications vary from stretch marks to volume loss in the back of the hands. The possibilities with PRP are endless! It is truly your body regenerating itself! WHAT TO EXPECT? One of the biggest advantages of PRP is that it has almost no contraindications or side effects, because it is derived from your own body. With the use of topical anesthetics to the treatment area, patients tolerate the procedure very well, with minimal discomfort. After the PRP is harvested, it is injected with a very tiny needle into the target tissue. The injections are in very small

PRP HAS ALMOST NO SIDE EFFECTS BECAUSE IT IS DERIVED FROM YOUR OWN BODY.

increments, tightly spaced, to cover the entire treatment area. A small amount of bruising can occur afterwards, but after the procedure is completed, there are no restrictions or downtime. The patient can return to normal activities immediately. When considering PRP treatments, it is important that you choose a board-certified medical professional to assess your condition and perform the treatment. This will assure that the equipment used to prepare your PRP is of highest quality and yields the highest concentration of platelets to receive maximum benefit. It will also guarantee that the procedure is performed correctly and safely to achieve the best possible result.

Dr. Anna Hagler is a board-certified physician, certified PRP provider and co-owner of Coastal Spa MD. For more information or to book a free PRP consult, please call Coastal Spa MD at 361-336-6464 or visit www. coastalspamd.com. Current before/after pictures of PRP treatments can be found on the website and on Coastal Spa MD’s Facebook page.

EDWARDOLIVE/BIGSTOCK.COM

F

or years, doctors and patients alike have been searching for an aesthetic treatment that is completely natural, 100 percent compatible with our body, has no side effects and has zero downtime. We can now say that we have come closer than ever with platelet rich plasma (PRP).


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COVER STORY

SPIRIT OF CARING DR. J. MARK MORALES: HEALING HEARTS AND CHANGING LIVES SPECIAL TO INSPIRE COASTAL BEND

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF CHRISTUS SPOHN

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ongtime cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. J. Mark Morales, spends his days between operating in Corpus Christi and the Rio Grande Valley, and flying to exotic countries to care for the poorest of patients. It’s a hectic life, but one he is happy to do. Colleagues say it’s all due to the doctor’s heart of gold and passion for helping others. On his website, you’ll find a favorite quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” That spirit of caring has carried through the doctor’s career from the beginning. Morales began studying medicine at age 18, and graduated three years later as class valedictorian. He practiced medicine in his native Mexico before heading to the United States to study general surgery in Massachusetts, and cardiothoracic surgery at West Virginia University. From there, he took a specialty fellowship in congenital heart surgery in London before coming back to the United States to start his practice in Corpus Christi, a town he loves. It’s a calling that’s never easy, but also never boring. “Practicing medicine is a challenging, but very rewarding career path,” Morales re-

“PATIENTS CAN EXPECT TO BE TREATED LIKE FAMILY.”


have been extended and transformed thanks to the skilled hands of Morales, who specializes in minimally invasive heart valve repair and replacement in adults and children, as well as artery and coronary bypass, and more. At CHRISTUS Spohn, Morales performs the revolutionary and minimally invasive Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement procedure (TAVR), which utilizes the advanced technology and imaging of the Dan A. Hughes Family Hybrid Suite. “We’re fortunate to have Dr. Morales on our team and practicing at our facilities to provide high-quality, cutting-edge care to our cardiac patients,” said Justin Doss, market president of CHRISTUS Spohn Health System. Morales is an integral part of the cardiac team, who treat patients of all ages and backgrounds. It’s safe to say many lives are now better off because of Morales’ compassionate care. In just the last 10 years, Morales has performed more than 350 heart surgeries on children in various parts of Mexico. He works closely with government officials to provide services for children who would otherwise not be able to afford these lifesaving surgeries. He’s also had the opportunity to perform humanitarian surgeries in El Salvador and Ethiopia. He estimates he has performed more than 10,000 procedures during throughout his career, but he treats each case as if it were his most important. “My goal is to not only provide the best health care possible, but also be receptive to the concerns of my patients and make sure they and their families are comfortable during a difficult time,” Morales said. Happily married for 22 years to wife, Patti, the couple has three children: John Mark, Lauren and Michael. It’s Morales’ goal to care for every patient as one of his own. “Patients can expect to be treated in a manner that I would expect one of my family members to be treated,” Morales said. Between stacks of papers and case folders on his desk, you’ll find memorabilia of the doctor’s beloved Dallas Cowboys, a hobby he tries to keep up with. And like the team spirit of his favorite sport, Morales is quick to praise his partners and coworkers. “The success of cardiothoracic surgery depends on the team,” Morales said. “Everybody that participates is what makes it possible. The nurses, cardiologists, techs, respiratory therapists and my partners all come together to provide the best care for our community.”

“TO KNOW EVEN ONE LIFE HAS BREATHED EASIER BECAUSE YOU HAVE LIVED – THIS IS TO HAVE SUCCEEDED.” – RALPH WALDO EMERSON

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DR. J. MARK MORALES’ PRACTICE, VISIT WWW.JMARKMORALESMD.COM.

flected. “However, the improved quality of life that people experience from my care is what makes it so special.” That’s a sentiment former patient Scott McClarren can attest to. In October 2009, he experienced a sudden heart attack and went into a coma. McClarren said that until then, he had not had any health issues and considered himself in good shape. It turned out he had a large aneurism that had gone undetected by several doctors, and had damaged a heart valve. Once Morales took a look, everything changed, according to McClarren. The experienced cardiac surgeon could tell right

away McClarren needed to have the aneurism repaired and the heart valve replaced. McClarren underwent surgery and credits the doctor with saving his life. “Since my surgery, I have always told people how lucky I was to have Dr. Morales perform my surgery, and just recently, I recommended him to a friend who needed bypass surgery,” he said. “Besides being blessed by God, Dr. Morales has given me eight additional years to enjoy life. I had the chance to see both of my granddaughters born, and have been able to spend time with them.” McClarren is one of many whose lives

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PROFILE

DOLGACHOV/BIGSTOCK.COM

CARE CON

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NNECTION By focusing on both access and awareness, FIRST FRIDAY Pink Links helps South Texas women in more ways than one. Special to Inspire Coastal Bend

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FIRST FRIDAY IS DEDICATED TO HELPING WOMEN FIND AND TREAT BREAST CANCER AT ITS EARLIEST STAGE. DAY has been helping save lives by increasing awareness of the importance of early detection and removing the barrier of cost by providing free screening mammograms for those in need. Early detection remains a critical tool in the fight against breast cancer. When considering the five-year milestone that many studies refer

to as a benchmark, the American Cancer Society reports that nearly 100 percent of women with stage 0 or 1 breast cancer will reach it. This is why FIRST FRIDAY is dedicated to helping women find and treat breast cancer at its earliest stage. Together with their medical partner, CHRIS-

PHOTOS AND ARTWORK COURTESY OF FIRST FRIDAY

J

ust one dollar can help the one in eight women who will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. For the second year in a row, FIRST FRIDAY is helping connect women in need with free screening mammograms in a unique fundraiser called FIRST FRIDAY Pink Links. Each Pink Link is $1, and every dollar raised stays right here in the Coastal Bend. This moving initiative has a pink for every link: You can purchase Pink Links to recognize a survivor, in support of those fighting breast cancer or in memory of loved ones. In addition to all funds staying local, so do all the links. Pink Links will be collected and connected in a powerful display in our community. “FIRST FRIDAY’s Pink Links is helping women of South Texas in more ways than one,” says Lamarr Graves, FIRST FIRDAY president. “We’re increasing access to mammograms, and we’re also increasing awareness.” Raising funds and awareness for the importance of early detection of breast cancer is all part of FIRST FRIDAY’s decades-long dedication to South Texas women. For 23 years, FIRST FRI-


BREAST CANCER FACTS • Approximately 12 percent of women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

TUS Spohn Health System, FIRST FRIDAY has underwritten more than 16,000 screening mammograms for local women in our community. “When you purchase a FIRST FRIDAY Pink Link, you will support a free mammogram screening for a mother, a sister, a daughter, a neighbor, a friend,” Graves says. “What’s important to remember is that every dollar raised stays in the Coastal Bend and provides qualifying women and men with a free mammogram screening.” From now until the end of October, Pink Links are available for purchase at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Gift Shops, Radiology Associates imaging centers and online at ffpinklinks.org. All money collected will help fund free mammogram screenings for those who do not have the resources to pay for a mammogram.

• There are more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. • Over the last 10 years, survival rates have improved. This decrease is believed to be the result of finding breast cancer earlier through screening and increased awareness, as well as better treatments.

“Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2015-2016” is accompanied by “Breast Cancer Statistics, 2015,” a scientific paper published in the American Cancer Society journal, CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.  

For more information about the FIRST FRIDAY free mammogram screening program, call 361-985-5600 (option 1) or visit www.firstfridaycc.org.

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Benefitting the Care and Feeding of Aquarium Animals

She Excels in School From shattered to scholar, because you made the call.

The first step in protecting a child’s future is reporting any signs of sexual or physical abuse...anonymously. Children in the Coastal Bend suffer child abuse at alarming rates. Don’t ignore the signals.

Anonymously report child abuse at

1.800.252.5400 28

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AFFORDABLE

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The Viera Life is senior living all in one gorgeous location. Cottages • Independent Living • Assisted Living • Memory Care

The Viera on-site sales office is now open 7 days a week.

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NONPROFIT

WHEN ABUSERS ARE ALSO VICTIMS The final story of a CASA By: TRISTA M. MARTINEZ

Phyllis Cash emerged as a new volunteer in 1997 (five years after CASA of the Coastal Bend took its very first case), then as CASA of Nueces County. She moved from the Lubbock area with some part-time experience at CPS. Her supervisor suggested looking into CASA after getting settled in Corpus Christi. Further supporting the idea, Cash explains, “I had a difficult upbringing, and I refuse to let others live that way.” Cash’s case involved four kids in San Patricio County: a 15-year-old daughter, a 10-year-old son with special needs and two daughters at 7 and 8 years old. Mom was a drug user, exposing her children to filth, sexual abuse and medical neglect – often treating her son with her own street drugs in place of appropriate, doctor-prescribed medication. After her court appointment, Cash quickly found the case to be challenging. “The damage done to the family by drugs is one of the hardest things. There is extensive damage. There will always be a scar.” The teenage daughter had a hard time transitioning into the “different culture” of foster care. She displayed frequent violent outbursts, refused to do schoolwork and was placed in different residential treatment centers. After aging out, she chose to return home. Now 20 years old and with a baby of her own, she struggles with CPS involvement as a mother. She still keeps in touch with Cash and turns to her for emotional support. The son, who suffers from Klinefelter syndrome, experienced sexual abuse at the hands of his older brother and neighbors. Mom would trade sexual favors for drugs, sometimes in his

presence, claiming he “didn’t know what’s going on.” At the age of 10, he couldn’t speak and had never been to school. While in foster care, he had to be separated from his younger sisters. They became uneasy and eventually afraid of him because of the sexual nature of his behavior learned by his transparent exposure to sex at such an early age. He would act out sexually in foster homes, causing him to spend time in juvenile correctional facilities. Due to medical issues, Cash shared the case with two other CASAs, a couple who took over for his advocacy. Despite his difficulties, he was adopted in December 2016 to a school counselor. At 15 years old, he is happy, healthy and talkative. The two younger sisters stayed together in foster care, being separated once. After a disagreement between the two, the foster parents decided to remove one of the girls. In a few months’ time, Cash advocated for the sisters to be reunited, and the foster parents took her back. Cash describes both girls as loving and intelligent, so it came as no surprise when, at an adoption picnic, the girls met a Houston couple and it was “love at first sight.” Cash accompanied the girls on visits with the couple until adoption was finalized in the beginning of the 2016-17 school year. Her favorite memory was, “taking them shopping for school clothes with their adoptive parents. They got to pick whatever they wanted!” Finally, after a slow process, the girls moved to Houston on a Thursday and started school that Monday. They are currently 12 and 14 years old, and Cash feels their adoptive parents are “the most qualified to handle the girls.” She plans to continue keeping in touch, visiting annually and emailing or texting. In her 20 years as an active CASA and with seven cases under her belt, this case served as her last. Her biggest realization is “abusers are also victims. They were abused themselves.” She says she didn’t do any of this for recognition, but it’s hard not to recognize someone who has given so much time, effort and care to the lives of local foster children. The best part for Cash is “seeing the joy on their faces of knowing they had something to look forward to: a future.”

I HAD A DIFFICULT UPBRINGING, AND I REFUSE TO LET OTHERS LIVE THAT WAY.”

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a volunteer-based program responding to the needs of children in foster care. CASAs provide a voice for abused and neglected children in school, at home and in the courtroom. For more information on becoming a CASA or for fundraising, please go to www.coastalbendcasa.org or call 361-884-2272.

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DJEDZURA/BIGSTOCK.COM

Case open: Aug. 17, 2012 Case closed: Feb. 24, 2017


Walk to End Alzheimer’s Saturday, September 9, 2017

Postponed due to Hurricane Harvey:

December 3rd at Cole Park

7:30 am Check-In / 8:30 am Ceremony 9:00 am Walk To Start a New Team: 1. www.alz.org/walk 2. Enter your Zip Code 3. Click on Corpus Christi, TX 4. Click the yellow “Register” button 5. Click the “Start a Team” button 6. Follow the registration process online To Join a Team: 1. www.alz.org/walk 2. Enter your Zip Code 3. Click on Corpus Christi, TX 4. Click the yellow “Register” button 5. Click the “Join a Team” button 6. Click the “Search for a Team” button 7. Look up your team and click “Join” 8. Follow the registration process online

For more information contact us at 361-445-9764 or mamoseley@alz.org

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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NONPROFIT

Corpus Christi-area residents are set to walk to raise awareness of heart disease and promote good heart health at the annual American Heart Association Heart Walk. By: ERIN WILDER

O

Walking just 30 minutes a day can put you on the path to a healthier lifestyle. This year’s Corpus Christi Heart Walk, presented by H-E-B, will be held on Saturday, Oct. 7, at Whataburger Field from 8:30 a.m. until noon. For more information or to start or join an existing Heart Walk Team, please visit www.coastalbendheartwalk.org or contact Brittany Sandbach, Heart Walk director, at 361-445-3192 or brittany.sandbach@heart.org.

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION

TAKE A WALK

besity. Hypertension. Heart disease. What if the answer to some of the top health problems that plague the Coastal Bend area were as simple as putting one foot in front of the other and taking a walk? Every year, hundreds of Corpus Christi-area residents do just that: They come together for the annual American Heart Association Heart Walk, a non-competitive 5K walk (that’s about 3 miles) that raises awareness of heart disease, our country’s No. 1 killer. Walking may seem too simple an answer, but studies prove that just 30 minutes a day can put you on the path to a healthier lifestyle and combat those risk factors like high blood pressure and being overweight. The annual Heart Walk is one of the American Heart Association’s primary fundraisers in the area, and it supports cutting-edge research and educational programs. The event is also designed to promote physical activity and hearthealthy living to the community in an environment that’s fun, family-friendly and rewarding. Many local businesses participate as fundraising teams and see the added benefit of a healthier workforce, boosted morale and camaraderie. Walkers can participate as individuals, join a team or start their own team with family, friends or neighbors. People often walk in honor of a heart disease or stroke survivor or a lost loved one. When you join Heart Walk, you join more than a million people in 300plus cities across America in taking a stand against heart disease and helping save lives.


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Why I love what I do:

I am a bold, strong, independent woman who is hyperactive by nature and loves to live life! I am a diehard Dallas Cowboys fan, and am excited that football season is finally here! I am incredibly thankful that in my career, I have the opportunity to do what I love to do. Being a part of the Coastal Bend Blood Center is a dream for me. My career has always played a vital part in my life, and the fact that I am able to give back to my community through my job is just incredible. I graduated with my degrees in marketing and public relations here at Texas A&M Corpus Christi (go Islanders), and have been doing this for the past eight years now. I have been involved in my community and giving back ever since I was a little girl. Having the opportunity to meet a variety of individuals on a daily basis is ideal for me. I am not only able to give back and be a servant leader in my community, but also build relationships with these individuals. I believe my purpose in life is to inspire and influence others, whether it be through servant leadership in my community or continuing to encourage self-worth, empowerment and dedication in whatever one’s striving for in life. I am certain that through hard work, dedication and passion, you can be successful in whatever your heart desires. Life is important, but what is more important is the impact you have on other lives. These involvements that I have been fortunate to be a part of are truly priceless and what makes what I do all worth it.

My philosophy:

Being born and raised here in Corpus Christi, I love my city and I look forward to all the great things to come here. I believe as a community, we need to unite and empower each other more, especially us women. I am strong in my views when it comes to women empowerment and building each other up instead of the contrary. I look forward to being a positive guidance in this matter and continuing to assist my community moving forward.

Words to live by:

If you know me, you know I have many words to live by. My faith is the key part of my life; this is what brings peace and saneness in my day-to-day experiences. My grandmother, who is my hero and the epitome of a resilient woman, brought me up to be strong in my faith, as well as with so many empowering words to live by. It is difficult to choose one. If I had to decide on one, it would be: “Your greatness is not what you have; it is what you give.� Life is about giving, not receiving. Put others before yourself, and you will live a blessed, fulfilling life. I have come to realize this more as I have become older. These are wise words that I will continue to live by.

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Inspire Coastal Bend Medical September/October 2017  
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