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Bakersfield nonprofit rallies around friend battling cancer

Posted at 9:43 AM, Feb 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-06 12:43:44-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — In May of 2020, Susan Borg was told she had three to six months to live.

"And I basically said, you know what, I’m going to fight," she said.

Susan’s battle with Endometrial Stromal Sarcoma began in 1996. For years, she was doing fine.

“No one would ever even think I had cancer. I've always just [been] out my door every day doing something," she said.

Now Susan says she’s battling for her life.

“And everyone’s helping me do that," she said.

Jacque Johnson founded the nonprofit Bakersfield Pawsitive Connections in 2018.

"Advocate, educate, raise funds for animals. I wanted to keep the bond between people and their animals together," said Jacque.

She met Susan through the organization. Their shared passion for helping others formed a deep friendship. When Susan told Jacque about her diagnosis, she thought it was a bad joke.

"Like, wait, we haven’t had enough time yet. You can’t leave me now," said Jacque.

Jacque said she didn’t think should she help, but how could she immediately start supporting Susan through her treatment

“It was straight to the drawing board," she said.

Stacie Tarango has been friends with Susan ever since she bought her vacuum more than 20 years ago.

"It was the longest demo ever and we just hit off," said Stacie.

”We’ve been friends ever since and actually our daughters are best friends too," added Susan.

Stacy and Jacque along with other community members have held several fundraisers to help Susan pay for medical treatment.

They hosted a raffle in January. Jacque said they asked for four baskets, and the community provided 27, raising a total of $5,276.

"Susan does the same, you know, when it came to helping homeless, helping pets. She’s always been out there and able to ask people for money and raise and fundraise, and I think that’s probably why for the same reason, these women didn’t think twice about doing it for her," said Stacie.

They also made “Think Pawsitive” shirts to raise money and on Saturday, they’re holding a rummage sale.

Susan said she's grateful for the support.

“The last couple months, I’ve been so sick and they’ve been there every single day. Every single day," she said. "Through Pawsitive Connections and my best friend, [they’re] doing so much and it’s really touched my heart.”

Stacie wants Susan’s story to remind everyone you never know what someone’s going through.

“Everybody has a story and perhaps if we would all be kinder and, you know, look at everybody as a story instead of just [that] person over there," she said

And Susan said she hopes others are inspired to give back.

“I really feel that whatever it is, if it’s working with animal shelters, working with a local rescue, it’s working with a mission, anything like that, get hooked up because you know, it’s a great blessing when you do," said Susan.

The rummage sale starts on Saturday at 8 a.m. at 10021 Rosedale Highway.

To order a "Think Pawsitive" shirt, email ibekrafty@gmail.com. Shirts are $25, and $10 from each one purchased will go towards Susan's treatment.

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