This heartfelt thanks is to the Congress Park School community of parents and staff. I have been a part of this community since 1993. My brother, sister and son Nicolas, now at Park Junior High, has attended Congress Park over the years. 

I also worked at Congress Park while obtaining my teaching degree for 10 years. This year my little Gabriela started kindergarten with an amazing teacher named Mrs. Repsis. This school community came together to help my family during the holidays.

I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 38 in September. This news devastated my entire family, my students and my school. After months of enduring test after test, biopsy after biopsy, I went for a second opinion. I found a team of excellent doctors at Loyola Hospital. After some appointments, my surgery was scheduled. 

Every mom’s nightmare whenever surgery is involved is making sure things are all in place, just in case. It was hard to be strong and put on a happy face, but I did it.

I had to change my mindset into thinking positively and having my faith in God even stronger than before. God showed me His angels were everywhere. So many kind and generous people made my journey a little happier than I would’ve expected. 

Days before my bilateral mastectomy surgery, a hard-working dedicated mom, Tam Chavez, was talking with another mom, Melanie Osinski-Ballauer, about setting up a Meal Train on behalf of my family. Tears welted up and I began to sob. 

These two very busy moms wanted to help out and ask our community for help for my family. I am not one to accept help, because I am the one usually helping others. I love to help others and I don’t know how to ask for help. 

I had surgery on Tuesday and the first meal came on Friday. Every day for the month of December, someone signed up to make dinner for my family and/or make a donation for gift cards. Many families that signed up, I didn’t even know. 

During this crazy time of the year, they still offered their time to take one less thing off of my family’s plate. 

To all of you that donated, cooked, sent cards, texted, called and visited, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am so blessed and proud to live in Brookfield and to be a part of the Congress Park community with you all. We as parents are also very lucky to have some of most amazing teachers I have ever known. From the Guerrero family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Desiree Guerrero