Local organization links cancer patients with volunteers

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – A local organization is assisting a single mother while she battles breast cancer.

Yahaira Santiago is a single mother of three.

“I have a 12-year-old, a two-year-old, and I have a one-year-old,” she said.

But last October, Santiago was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I was suffering. I was like, ‘I can’t believe it that I got this sickness,’ she said. “I was asking myself how I’m going to do this by myself.”

With family out of the country, Santiago went through doctors’ appointments, chemotherapy and surgery alone.

But then Santiago met Lisa Morahan who was also diagnosed with cancer five years ago. Morahan turned her experience into something bigger by founding floydwarriors.com.

Floyd Warriors links cancer patients with volunteers.

“I had a miraculous experience,” Morahan said. “It was an experience that changed my life forever, and it was an angel encounter. I just knew she was coming to give me a mission.”

That mission introduced Santiago to Amber Zapp. Zapp started making daily visits to Santiago’s house four months ago volunteering for ten hours a day.

“The second I walked in to this house and met them it was just like love at first sight,” Zapp said.

Zapp does housework that has helped to lift a weight off Santiago’s shoulders.

“Without her help, I was about to lose my kids because it’s too much,” Santiago said. “You cannot do anything. I was in bed all day.”

But Zapp said the hard work is worth it.

“It’s the most rewarding thing because you get as much love back as you give if not more,” she said.

Santiago begins radiation next week, but she said she can handle it all with the help of her “angels.”

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