Updated: 11/11/2013 8:45 pm
VICTORIA (KAVU) - "This is actually my father’s uniform from whenever he served in Vietnam."
Several years later, Clarisa Gonzalez still has her father’s uniform. Clarisa and her mother, Veronica Gonzalez, still have the photos to show that Hector Gonzalez was a Vietnam veteran.
"Veterans Day was exceptional important to my husband. Having served in the army and being deployed to Vietnam was not something that he talked a lot about because he was very private about that,” Veronica Gonzalez
"My dad was, you know I cannot say this enough, he was my hero,” Clarisa said.
Hector Gonzalez was a hero to his daughter and his wife that was taken too soon.
"January 25, 2009 was without a doubt the hardest day of my life. My father passed away from pancreatic cancer. For the past, almost 5 years now I've been trying to start something but I guess I was scared and I didn't think that one person could make a difference,” Clarisa said.
Making a difference is what Clarisa is striving for. She has already participated in different organizations and events for pancreatic cancer such as the Purple Stride 5K in Austin. Now, she wants to start a movement in Victoria to bring awareness to the disease.
"November is actually Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and I'm asking everybody on Fridays to wear their purple to show their support. Pancreatic cancer is one of the 5 most deadly cancers and we need to bring awareness to it. We need to raise funds for it and we can't forget that there are other cancers out there that people suffer from,” Clarisa said.
The movement she has created in Victoria to honor her father is already picking up steam.
"The outpour that I have seen of people responding has been amazing. People will tag me on their Facebook, their Instagram wearing purple. Whether they are living here or living out of town. It means so much to me because everything that I'm doing, I'm doing it for my father and I know that he is proud of me. I'm not going to stop until we find a cure. Until I make this as big as I want to make it and there's no limit. I'm not going to stop,” Clarisa said.
Clarisa said she has been in touch with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network about bringing fundraisers to Victoria. On Friday, November 22, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is asking everyone to wear purple for “Purple With a Purpose” to raise awareness about the disease.