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Hunger Beat

52 Stories, 52 Weeks: Fighting cancer, feeding family

David Suarez, a proud U.S. Army Veteran, shares his story at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center.

Many people affectionately know David Suarez as “the Picasso of the South Side.”

David, a 72-year-old Army Veteran proud of his service, built a shrine to the Armed Forces in the front yard of his Canaryville home. He was a general contractor and built his own home, enjoying success in his field.

But in 2006, he was diagnosed with cancer and the treatment quickly began to drain his savings.

“I didn’t want to go to a pantry at first because of pride. Foolish pride,” he said.

But David, now a three-time cancer survivor, and his wife Barbara, both unable to work, found assistance at the Union Avenue UMC church food pantry near their home.

“I realized how helpful the people there were and how important the food was to my family,” David said. “Being cared for like that is amazing.”

At Union Avenue, David receives staple items needed to maintain a healthy diet.

“Because of that pantry and the Food Depository, I’ve had the nutrition support that I’ve needed. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been fighting my cancer,” he said.

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