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Post circulating on social media about free chemo sessions is false

A post circulating on social media about free chemo sessions with a donation of bottle caps is false.

The woman who posted the photo on Facebook over the weekend claimed she walked into the Navy Federal Credit Union branch on Hondo Pass when she saw the sign.

The sign reads: “El Paso Children’s Hospital in conjunction with Dr. Yolanda Lagunas, have a program for every 200 bottle caps collected, they will sponsor one child’s chemotherapy session for free, at no cost to the family. The program is strictly for local children who receive treatments at El Paso Children’s Hospital.”

However, officials with El Paso Children’s Hospital told ABC-7 the post is false.

“El Paso Children’s Hospital Foundation and Dr. Yolanda Lagunas wish to convey that the representation made in this poster is not true. We value our partnerships with our community and hope to find the source of this poster so that if we are able to do this type of collection, that we follow the appropriate process. If you have further information or any questions please call 525-0504. If you would like to help our foundation and the different services at El Paso Children’s Hospital we ask you to please work with El Paso Children’s Hospital Foundation. There are many opportunities for your businesses to get involved.”

A Navy Federal spokesman also sent ABC-7 a statement stating: “A local employee saw a similar flyer posted in the community. Upon learning that this program was not in place, the flyer was removed from our branch.”

Dr. Lagunas told ABC-7 the post was due to miscommunication, but her office does collect bottle caps to help another Borderland cause. The bottle caps are collected and recycled and the money is donated to help Juarez children undergoing chemo. For four months now, Laguna’s office has been collecting bottle caps of all shapes, sizes and colors to help El Centro de Niños in Juarez.

“That started with a friend of mine from church,” Lagunas, said. “We had a little jar, almost like an ice bucket type jar and before we know it we were getting bags and bags of caps.”

That’s where she thinks the miscommunication behind the post began.

“I was upset at first, but obviously it was someone with very good intentions that thought they were helping out.”

Ana Vasquez, a math teacher and Key Club sponsor at Eastlake High School, said her students have been collecting bottle caps for more than a year to help children in Juarez. When she saw the post, she was ready to help.

“I thought maybe they were doing the same thing and I thought it was a really nice thing for El Paso,” Vasquez said.

Vasquez says the bottle caps her students collect are taken to a recycling plant in Mexico called Terracycle where all the donations are shipped out and they in turn deposit money to the Asociacion de Padres de Niños con Cancer y Leucemia or APANICAL. The foundation helps pay for everything necessary for chemotherapy. Vasquez, who regularly visits the foundation, says there are two large adjacent rooms full of hospital beds where kids receive their treatments for cancer or leukemia.

While the post was incorrect, bottle caps are proving to help children in need and a testament that the Borderland is always eager to help those in need.

“Every kid that’s saving a bottle cap is doing it to try and help somebody else,” Vasquez said.

“We got a lot of calls, and actually, most of them from people wanting to know where and how they can donate,” Dr. Lagunas said.

If you’d like to help donate bottle caps, you can call Rebecca Saenz, who collects them for El Centro de Ninos at (915) 241-0144 or Eastlake High School at (915) 937-3600.

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