chris budge

Key and Chris Budge

I contacted Tehachapi Cancer Foundation for assistance and made a lifelong friend.

I first became aware of TCF about seven years ago with my first battle with breast cancer. Although I didn’t meet Jim Wallace personally back then, I was given constant words of encouragement and offers of support through my husband by Jim, who runs the foundation. I was fortunate to have the support of my husband, family and friends and didn’t have a need back in the early days of my diagnosis.

Last year that all changed. My cancer had returned for the third time and I was again in treatment. I met a dear lady in chemo, Luana Schmidt. Luana was a longtime Tehachapi resident who was battling stage 4 cancer. To say Luana was a free spirit who liked a saucy joke now and then is an understatement; she was a one-of-a-kind firecracker who spoke her mind but was the sweetest soul. She was on chemo almost a year when she began to struggle.

Luana was on a fixed income and the cost of gas to Bakersfield was a hardship. I contacted Jim and he immediately gave me gas cards to give to her as well as an offer for more cards if she needed them and anything the foundation had to offer. For Luana, the cards were a godsend. A few months later, Luana was once again in need. The cancer had spread rapidly and she was now going to be put on hospice.

Unfortunately, hospice was going to take a few days to start and Luana was experiencing some extreme discomfort. In desperation I contacted Jim; he immediately dropped everything and made himself available to give me therapeutic pain cream for Luana. The cream gave her comfort, and she was able to rest.

It’s an interesting thing, but when you are battling such an aggressive illness, sometimes you feel alone and not many people understand and can relate to this disease. Jim doesn’t shy away from the tough conversations because he knows, he’s been there. It’s meant everything to me to have the support of Jim and the foundation.

I’ve also benefited from the pain cream, all free of charge. I’m happy to say I’m in remission and will always be grateful to Jim for being there. Jim puts his heart and love tirelessly into the foundation. He contacts me on a regular basis to check and see if I need anything and offers a kind ear, his prayers and friendship.

He’s a hero to many when it’s needed most.