At the reveal party in May at Holy Family Hospital, she showed off her new look and $5,500 for the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Saint Monica parish in Methuen. The organization provides food and money for emergency partial payments of utility, rent and medical expenses for individuals and families.
“No act of kindness is ever too small, so I urge you to always give of yourself,” she wrote in a speech she could not deliver at her reveal party — Francisco finds it difficult to talk as a side effect of her medicine.
She admits it was a shock when doctors discovered her cancer was back and metastasized at age 54.
“I do recall feeling grateful that in the 13 years since my original diagnosis, there were new, approved drug alternatives; whereas, if that had been my original diagnosis, I would have been told to go home and put my life in order,” she said. “I was also prepared this time, since I had been through chemo, radiation, hair loss, etc. and knew the drill.”
Francisco said two things keep her strong.
“I get strength from my family and friends who gather around me with laughter and support, and my faith, always knowing that He’s always been there for me,” she said. “That’s what gets me through these tough times. I can’t say enough how blessed I am.”
Francisco said the makeover was a welcome distraction.
“Project Makeover has reminded me of all the good people in the world. It has motivated me to continue giving back,” she said.
“When you feel good about yourself, you stand a little taller and smile from the inside out. I want to show the world that one never gives up on herself or her surroundings.”
Francisco was born and raised in Methuen. She graduated from Tenney High School and attended Castle Junior College. She has one brother and two sisters, and is the youngest of her siblings.