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Star of Queens: Evelyn Gomez, reference librarian and breast cancer survivor

Photos courtesy of Evelyn Gomez

PERSONAL BACKGROUND:

Evelyn Gomez was born and raised in New York City as the youngest of three and the only girl in her family. She moved to Jackson Heights to start a family after living in the Bronx for a handful of years with the man who is now her husband. Gomez has a 5-year-old son who is enrolled in kindergarten at their local public school.

MOTIVATION TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE COMMUNITY:

Being a breast cancer survivor who is currently in a clinical trial, and a lifelong Yankees fan, it seemed like a no-brainer for Gomez to support the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation’s 5K race at Yankee Stadium on Nov. 15. She thinks that including “America’s national pastime” by running the race around Yankee Stadium is the perfect way to get cancer awareness out while raising much-needed funds and having fun.

“Today, we’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t been touched by cancer in some form or another, and I chose this opportunity to combine something I love with an important message – make a difference and support cancer research,” Gomez said. “I really feel strongly about cancer research, and the idea that we can all make a difference if we work together.”

PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND AND CAREER:

While Gomez received her master’s degree in library science in 2006, she has worked in the library services field for about 20 years. She is currently a reference librarian at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, a law firm in Manhattan.

“As a librarian, I understand that getting creative is often the only way to get information out to the people.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE:

Gomez was diagnosed with breast cancer just three months after having given birth, and went through chemotherapy, a mastectomy and finally radiation. After her surgery, she had to have friends come over to help take care of her baby because she couldn’t pick him up herself. She says that everyone goes through challenges, and she believes it’s how one recovers from those challenges that really counts.

“Because of my cancer diagnosis, there were lots of challenges I had to face while still trying to get used to the ‘roll’ of being a new mom,” Gomes said. “Like many first-time mothers, I struggled with nursing and was just getting into the swing of things when I had to stop so I could go on chemotherapy.”

GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS:

Gomez says her biggest achievement is still being here, and is grateful for the love and support of her family and friends. With that support, she will run in her second Damon Runyon 5K and she even has a team to run with – her son, who will be participating in the Kids Fun Run, and her childhood friend who lost her mother to lung cancer.  She hopes that every year her team will grow and spread their reach to continue to spread the word about cancer awareness and how everyone can make a difference.

“I am just shy from being a five-year cancer survivor, and even though I still suffer from bouts of being terrified that cancer will make a return appearanceand possibly not having the chance to see my son grow upI know I can’t let this diagnosis get in the way of living my life.”

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