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Helping Puerto Rico with medical supplies

Posted at 1:10 AM, Nov 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-17 01:11:12-05

More than a year ago Maria Rodriguez was diagnosed with breast cancer while living in Puerto Rico.

"They told me I have to check my mammogram with my doctor, so I did that and he saw me that I have something there."

She had surgery and was almost done with chemotherapy when hurricane Maria hit.

"I couldn't call the hospital because the electricity was off," she said. 

Her treatments abruptly ended. Maria's relatives here contacted local organizations. One of them, the Susan G. Komen South Florida Executive Director Kate Watt.

"We were able to help at Susan G. Komen South Florida to connect her with another non-profit that had a relief flight that came over."

The Urban League of Palm Beach County also played a part in helping Maria.

Maria is fortunate to get the medical help she needs, but her case shows the needs of people still living in Puerto Rico where hospitals were damaged by the powerful storm.

A local doctor, Dr. Ramon Vazquez, recently went there with other volunteers and saw it firsthand.

"The hospital in Ponce it's Metropolitano Pila, and that hospital was very much in need of supplies and still is to this day. A majority of the supplies that they are in need of are antibiotics."

They took food, water and some medical supplies, but more help is needed.

"Standard medical supplies such as gauze, wrappings, band-aids, believe it or not fungicide spray. Fungus is now becoming a problem in the homes."

As donations continue to pour in for those hardest hit, Maria is thankful she's back on track with her cancer treatments.

"They helped me a lot, they are so sweet and they do a lot for me. And I'm very grateful for that."