Dining by Design honoree stays strong

HARLINGEN — Battling cancer can be tough, which is why many survivors are applauded for winning. But Patty Crandall Gorges has won three different battles.

Gorges will be honored Thursday for enduring cancer three times at the Dining by Design fundraising event.

Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Gorges moved to the Rio Grande Valley when she was 12 years old.

She graduated from Harlingen High School in 1954 and attended nursing school at Hermann Memorial Hospital in Houston and received her nursing degree in 1957.

Gorges was married in 1958 to her high school sweetheart and moved back to Harlingen. She had six children but lost one due to melanoma at the age of 17 months.

At 53 years old, Gorges experienced cancer in her life in a different way for the first time. She was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

“I went through abdominal surgery, chemotherapy and lost my hair,” Gorges said.

“I was free of cancer a year later but five years after I awoke to find a bump on my neck and the cancer had returned,” she said.

Gorges had to go through chemotherapy one more time, but she survived. Having to go through radiation a second time permanently affected Gorges vocal chords. Today, she struggles to formulate a conversation but it did not stop her faith.

In 2004, cancer was once again found, this time in her abdomen. Gorges underwent chemotherapy treatment and survived cancer for the third time.

She has now been cancer free for the past 14 years.

Because of her journey, Gorges said she is a big supporter of the American Cancer Society and believes in its mission and services.

“One of the services I believe is especially important is transportation to cancer treatments that the American Cancer Society provides to those battling cancer,” she said.

Gorges stressed faith as the one thing that made her get strong and help her endure these three long battles.

“When the chemotherapy is making you sick, understand that there is a war going on inside your body and you are going to win,” Gorges said.

IF YOU GO

Sneak Peek: Wednesday, Oct. 23 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Day time preview: Thursday Oct. 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Evening Gala: Thursday Oct. 24 starting at 6:30 p.m.