Carol Garcia's roots reach deep into the city of Roseville – five generations' worth. That might explain why, after getting her college degree at Sacramento State University, she returned home to raise her family and launch her career.
It's lucky for Roseville – and the greater Sacramento area – that she did.
Today, the community recognizes her work as a city council member, tenure leading the Roseville Chamber of Commerce and job as senior vice president of Granite Community Bank.
But they may not be aware of her contribution toward finding cures for breast cancer through the Placer Breast Cancer Endowment that she co-established. The group aims to raise $1.5 million for an endowed chair at UC Davis Cancer Center.
Garcia's dedication was evident this fall in the roster of events she helped plan to boost the endowment. Among them: a party cohosted by United Auburn Indian Community, Thunder Valley Casino and Austins Steakhouse; the Hot Pink 5K through Historic Old Town Roseville; and the Pink & White Ball at the Granite Bay Golf Club.
Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998 at age 39, Garcia has taken on the cause with the same kind of energy and enthusiasm she has for her other civic priorities.
"I had five surgeries – removal of the tumor, of the breasts, of the lymph nodes and reconstruction," she says. "After going through that, I thought we have to do something to find a cure." Teri Munger, co-founder of the fund, called her friend "a tireless crusader" for the endowment – which, like many in a challenging economy, has struggled to meet its ambitious fundraising goals.
"She has kept focused on this cause for the last five years," Munger says. "Without her dedication and perseverance, this nonprofit would not exist. She just keeps charging forward. She sets a goal and demands that there is no turning back."
Garcia credits a cadre of fellow volunteers, many of them also breast cancer survivors, for the group's accomplishments so far: $800,000 in the bank for the endowed chair.
"I firmly believe that when we have someone solely focused on breast cancer research at UC Davis, they will be successful in finding the cure," she says. "That is our goal, and that is our hope."