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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Community supports a woman’s fight against cancer

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Student studies Oct.17 at Mochas and Javas below one of Rubio’s paintings. Photo by Jenna Carroll

Paintings of waterfalls and sunflowers are hung along the walls of Mochas and Javas in hopes of helping one woman fight cancer.
Maria Rubio, who goes by Coco, is the mother of a Texas State student. She was diagnosed with third stage lung cancer in May 2018.
Rubio said it is challenging to describe the feelings she experienced upon hearing her diagnosis.
“I think it’s difficult to explain it because you’re shocked and you don’t know how to react,” Rubio said.
Rubio said she does not want to accept the diagnoses and will not even say the words out loud.
“I think this is my reaction, not accepting the reality,” Rubio said. “I don’t know what is going to happen when I accept it.”
Rubio’s daughter, Sonia Preisser, sustainability studies graduate student, said she tries to help her mother in any way she can.
Preisser created a GoFundMe and a Facebook campaign to raise money for her mother. She also sells t-shirts, tanks, tote bags and decals. Profits from anything sold go to helping to pay for medical expenses.
As of August, Pressier managed to begin selling her mother’s paintings at Mochas and Javas. The paintings, centered around nature, are hung on the walls of the coffee shop. The profits will go to #HelpCocoTackleCancer. The hashtag is the fundraiser to help raise money to pay for Rubio’s fight against cancer. Paintings can be bought through Mochas and Javas or the GoFundMe.
“If she sells a painting, it sort of gives her a little bit of hope, so I think for me that’s the most important thing,” Priesser said. “Being able to sell something that she’s spent so much time on, it just gives her that little bit of energy she may need. That, for me, is the biggest impact at the end of the day.”
Rubio said she no longer has the energy to do things she loves, and painting is one of those things. She used to spend all of her time painting, but cancer has stolen that joy from her.
“(Painting) is my passion,” Rubio said. “It is my life. I love to cook also. I stopped doing that too. Your life changes.”
Emerald Carroll, Mochas and Javas kitchen manager, worked alongside Priesser to integrate #CocoTacklesCancer at the coffee shop.
Carroll said she feels Rubio’s struggle with cancer is a fight many others can understand.
“I feel like everybody has had at least one person close to them be affected by cancer,” Carroll said. “It’s a sick disease. It’s going to pick whoever it wants to pick, so I feel like it’s something a lot of people (can) probably relate to.”
Grace Mills, Mochas and Javas marketing director, said Rubio’s paintings symbolize more than just artwork.
“(The paintings) symbolize a fight for a woman’s life,” Mills said. “I don’t know her well, but I do know it’s important and that we try to do whatever we can. If that means offering our wall space, then I’m always going to say yes to that.”
Mills said she not only hopes selling Rubio’s paintings generates money, but Rubio and her family feel the community’s support.
“I’m really happy to find people trying to help me, especially people that don’t know me,” Rubio said.
The Facebook fundraiser for Rubio has ended, but the GoFundMe is still active. Mochas and Javas has sold two of Rubio’s paintings so far. They will continue to sell Rubio’s paintings until they have all been purchased.

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