By Julia Goldman
From the break of dawn Ramirez is consumed by motherly duties — she has to equip the kids for school, drop them off, prepare food, pick up the kids and teach Zumba.
It’s only between these commitments as a mother, breast cancer navigator and Zumba instructor that Ramirez finds time for her own education at Riverside City College as a nursing student.
It’s been 30 years since Ramirez was in high school and balancing everything is no simple task. It’s easy to become engrossed, over-occupied and lost within responsibility.
Regardless of the challenges, Ramirez endures and continues to support her children’s dreams by providing an ultimate example through her actions. It’s setting an example that inspired Ramirez to attend RCC.
“I used to only think that smart people went to college,” Ramirez said. “But now, this is possible for me.”
Ramirez was also inspired to attend RCC through her experience with breast cancer patients at her job as a receptionist at the Pink Ribbon Place.
Ramirez fell in love with the job despite believing she wasn’t cut out for this line of work. Ramirez treated every person who entered the facility like family — from wig fittings, informing patients of their treatment plan, Zumba classes, prosthetic fittings and counseling.
“It’s a wonderful thing to see them feel like women again,” Ramirez said. “They’re my inspiration for continuing school. I felt like I could still do more for them.”
Ramirez stressed how cancer patients of color typically suffer more from their cancer treatment due to infrequent resources. She noticed several times where Hispanic cancer patients were heavily uninformed of their diagnosis and treatment plan.
It’s this exact issue that Ramirez wants to solve. She wants to support Hispanic cancer patients with her skills in translation and better the failures of the medical system in relation to minorities.
Ramirez’s personal ambition to provide proper care to underserved individuals is already in action. This summer, she is to be on a committee for the Women’s Cancer Conference as a core speaker and translator.
Studying to become an oncology navigator nurse, Ramirez is striving to provide personalized and individualized aid to as many cancer patients as possible from diagnosis, to treatment to survivorship .
Ramirez is a shining light full of inspiration located right within RCC, and it’s this very quality that Ramirez carries as she teaches Zumba.
Describing her as the most positive person she’s ever met, Contessa Mendoza thoroughly enjoys her sessions within Ramirez’s Zumba classes.
“It de-stresses me and makes me feel like I’m part of a family that actually cares about each other,” Mendoza said.
As she teaches Zumba, which Ramirez describes as her serenity, it’s easy to see her passion overflowing within her dance.
“Patty is humble, kind and compassionate,” Latricia Simons, a participant within Ramirez’s class, said. “She’s soft spoken but she’s strong.”
As the song finishes, they cheer, check in with another and begin again. As the ladies put their own stylistic elements into their moves, the smiles across their faces beamed. Open mouth, toothy grins, laughing smiles, with some singing the music that echoed throughout the room.
“There’s a saying in Spanish, ‘Si se puede,’ meaning, ‘we can do it,’” Ramirez offered as advice to RCC students. “So we can do it.”