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Daily Voice Year In Review: Fair Lawn Mom Reflects On Life-Changing Year

Veronica Rosario-Jackson, left, with Bernadette Vargas, center, and Sonia Aviles, right, after a breast cancer awareness walk in Wayne this fall. Photo Credit: Facebook
Bernadette Vargas Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Fair Lawn officials, friends and family embrace Bearn Vargas on Tuesday evening. Photo Credit: Sonia Aviles
Carolers embrace Vargas and her children while they open presents in her home. Photo Credit: Patricia Cormack
Bearn Vargas tries on a new wig. Photo Credit: Bearn Vargas

Daily Voice this week is running down some of the top stories of 2015, leading up to the most popular Thursday. Here is one of the stories that left a big impression on us.

FAIR LAWN, N.J. — A diagnosis of stage II breast cancer in July tipped off a domino effect of life-changing events for single Fair Lawn mom Bernadette Vargas.

Losing her job came after the diagnosis, followed by six rounds of chemotherapy and several bumps in the road along the way.

The greatest shock of the year for Vargas came early last week, she said, when Fair Lawn Police Det. David Boone — as Santa — Human Services Coordinator Liz Maresca Twiggs — as Senior Elf — and dozens of community members showed up at her front door.

“I am fortunate to have had support from my family, friends and members of our community from the moment of my diagnosis,” Vargas said. “But the night my children and I were surprised by Operation Santa Boone magnified the genuine beauty that has surrounded us.”

More than $5,600 had been raised as of Tuesday morning on a GoFundMe account established by Vargas’ cousin, Veronica Rosario-Jackson, over the summer.

Vargas has endured six rounds of chemotherapy treatments, and is scheduled to go into surgery next week.

With radiation therapy and approximately one year of infusion treatments on the horizon, Vargas’ battle is far from over.

“Receiving a call from my doctor informing me that I have cancer still seems surreal, but I stand tall knowing I have never fought alone,” she said.

“This year has been filled with many surprises, but the biggest is realizing that cancer brought upon more joy in our hearts than pain.”

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