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'We Want To Just Continue Her Journey': Circa2020 Works To Honor A Fashionable Friend And Raise Ovarian Cancer Awareness

From L to R: Maria Camacho, Angela Faria and Cristy Garcia pose outside the bus that would become the circa2020 mobile closet.
From L to R: Cristy Garcia, Maria Camacho and Angela Faria pose outside the bus that would become the circa2020 mobile closet.

More deaths are caused by ovarian cancer than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. Unfortunately, most women don’t find out they have it until it’s too late. Maria Camacho was one of those women.

In 2015, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. So she, Cristy Garcia and Angela Faria co-founded circa2020 — a mobile boutique that combines vintage fashion with ovarian cancer awareness.

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Garcia and Maria Camacho went to school together when they were younger, but through the years, they lost touch. One day, they re-connected, had lunch and picked up where they left off.

“Circa2020 started because one of our founders Maria was very much into vintage fashion. Whenever you would tell her 'Oh, what a cute shirt!' She'd say 'Mmmm ... circa 1997,' or whatever era it was in so, that's kinda where that started," Garcia said.

Garcia describes Camacho as a fashion buff, loving everything from the history of fashion design to collecting vintage fashion items.

“She could tell you the history of every designer, how they became who they were. She just knew so much. We'd put outfits together and they would have to be a Maria-approved outfit,” Garcia said.

Their original idea was to open a boutique. But at the time, Garcia was going through a divorce and Camacho was undergoing chemo treatments for ovarian cancer, which made it difficult for her to go to work.

“Then, I came across this bus one day. After driving by it on three different occasions, I noticed it wasn’t moving. I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if we could buy this bus and Maria could do her vintage stuff and she could go anywhere she wanted. It turned out that I was able to work out a deal with the owner and buy the bus,” Garcia said.

The re-wrapped circa2020 bus.
The re-wrapped circa2020 bus.

The three friends went scouting for cool vintage deals, saved money and got the bus re-wrapped.

But Maria never got a chance to ride it. On Nov. 12 of this year, she died after five years of living with ovarian cancer.

Deb Levy is with Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance also known as OCRA. For the past 30 years, OCRA has been fighting the disease from all fronts: in the lab, on capitol hill and through patient support programs investing more than $100 million in scientific research all over the country and the world.

“Every 23 minutes another person is diagnosed in the United States. One in 78 women will develop it in their lifetime. One of the things that makes it tricky is that there is no early testing for ovarian cancer," Levy said. "So, you know we got to our gyno every year and get our pap smear and we think we are getting checked out. But pap smears to do not check for ovarian cancer. There is nothing that could detect ovarian cancer."

And the symptoms are often easy to chalk off to other things. That’s why Levy says it is so important that women listen to their bodies.

“A lot of women get certain symptoms and say 'Oh, it’s menopause, it's just my body changing.' So, some bloating, difficulty eating, pelvic or abdominal pain and urinary frequency that lasts for more than two weeks or if anything seems new and unusual, go to the gynecologist or to a gynecologist oncologist,” Levy said.

Camacho was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after she experienced two unusually heavy menstrual cycles. She worked with OCRA throughout her treatment and planned on continuing to do so through circa2020.

“We want to just continue her journey. We want to help find a cure. If we could be a part of that, it would be great. If I could say one thing to her it would be 'Cheech, that bus is screaming your name and we're excited to do this for you, we hope you are smiling from wherever you are,'” Garcia said.

Along with donating a percentage of their earnings to OCRA, circa2020 plans to establish a fashion design scholarship fund in Maria Camacho’s name.

The Circa2020 bus will be in South Miami this Saturday at Blo Me Away Hair and Beauty Bar, at 5966 South Dixie Hwy., between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

They will have “gently-loved” vintage jewelry, shoes and clothing, all of which they say have been cleaned, pressed, and disinfected. To find resources and information about ovarian cancer, visit www.ocrahope.org.

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