Editor’s note: As Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes to a close, The Citizen would like to honor those who continue to fight the battle against cancer of the breast and other forms of cancer, as well as remember those we have lost to cancer. Vivian Alonso passed away in July 2020 after battling cancer for 20 years. The feature story below was written by Citizen Publisher Alesia Woolridge in 2017, and has been edited.
The words “gentle” and “survivor” don’t usually go together, but in Vivian Alonso’s case, both words describe her perfectly.
She was a lifelong resident of Eagle Lake, loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend, and the daughter of Frank, Jr. and Mary Cumpian.
Most people knew Vivian as the friendly, helpful pharmacy technician at Eagle Lake Drugstore. In a 2017 interview, Vivian said she had been an employee at the drugstore for 27 years as a certified pharmacy technician. “I enjoy working with my drugstore family and I love all my customers. it’s really nice to seem them and occasionally get a big hug,” Vivian shared.
Vivian’s valiant fight against cancer began 20 years ago with a breast cancer diagnosis. She would go on to beat cancer three more times, and was a regular face at the Colorado County Relay for Life events.
“I began participating in Relay for Live in 2004. I started working on the committee in 2010, and did that until 2015,” Vivian said.
In 2011, she was selected as the Relay for Life Colorado County honoree.
“I have raised thousands of dollars for Relay for Life, and I do this because I hope and pray that one day there will be a cure for this horrible disease called cancer. With the grace of God, I have survived three bouts with cancer,” Vivian said.
In one battle against the disease, Vivian had most of her tongue removed.
“Most people think I’m a strong person, and I am, but inside my heart is hurting because I can’t speak correctly anymore. Without my tongue, it’s hard to pronounce words, so people don’t understand me,” Vivian shared.
“For this interview, I texted my answers instead of talking over the phone or in person, and that’s frustrating because I really love to talk,” Vivian went on to explain.
Her speech was impaired, but her smile and acts of love spoke loudly. Vivian is deeply missed by all who knew her.