Jessica Cortez first became a corrections officer in 2004 at the John B. Connally Unit in Kennedy. She then relocated to work for the Atascosa County Jail and has been there ever since. On June 26, 2020, Cortez received the news that no woman wants to hear in her lifetime. At the young age of 41, she was diagnosed with Stage 2A breast cancer and would have to undergo aggressive chemotherapy as well as various surgeries and treatments.
“I know it’s a long road ahead of me, but I’m going to beat this with the encouragement from family and friends,” she said.
Cortez’s treatment will consist of six months of aggressive chemo and six months of recovery after surgery. That means she will be out of work for a whole year, and her sick leave will expire soon.
“We’re like a huge family. When one of us is down, we’re all down. So, we’re going to do everything we can to help Jessica out,” said Liz Ramon, one of Cortez’s friends. “Unfortunately, during this year’s work period, us fellow corrections officers can’t pass our sick and vacation leave onto her, but as soon as the new year starts, we’re going all in for her.”
Ramon, along with two of Cortez’s other close friends–Joshua Faseler and Monique Garcia–have come together to help support and encourage their friend during the long and hard road ahead of her.
“We are going to be doing a lot of fundraisers over the next year to help her, because insurance only covers so much,” said Ramon. “We’re here to support her along the way in any way she needs and right now, she could also use the community’s support. I know we have a very giving community, so now is the time to show a fellow corrections officer some love and support.”
Ramon has opened up a Wells Fargo account under Jessica’s name where anyone can donate whatever they can to help. You can go to any Wells Fargo Bank and make your desired donation to the Jessica Cortez donation account. Ramon and friends will also be working on creating a GoFundMe account in the near future as well as brainstorming safe fundraising ideas to hold in support of Jessica.
Cortez’s chemo treatment started at the end of July after she had a port placed in her chest on July 24. The treatment will hopefully kill the tumor enough so that doctors can surgically remove it to prevent further spreading. In the future, Cortez will be having a mastectomy, possibly a double, in which she will have to continue treatment for another six months afterward.
“With the faith she holds in God, and the community’s support, she will defeat this,” said Ramon.
For any questions on how you can donate to Jessica Cortez, please reach out to Liz Ramon via Facebook.