Jorgelina Irurzun He is 47 years old, he was born in Tandil but he has lived in Bolívar for several years. She is a professor and head of the Department of Visual Arts at the National College and an early diagnosis of hers changed her life: through LALCEC she learned that she had breast cancer. Over time, she battled the disease that is still being treated and, through her oncologist, she discovered a challenge in the Valley of Tears, Mendozawhere he reached the top of the mountain with the flag of the local institution.
Between March 3 and 5, the “Challenging life with breast cancer”an initiative through the discipline of trekking that took place where the Miracle of the Andes, the accident that occurred in 1972 in which a plane crashed into the Andes Mountains, leaving only thirteen people alive. There, this challenge was developed for women who are undergoing breast cancer or who have already overcome it.
“It was a wonderful experience of resilience and in the face of adversity, getting ahead in some way,” he said. Jorgelina Irurzun in dialogue with GIFT. The objective was to reach the memorial, where the remains of the plane and those who did not survive the tragic accident are. As soon as his oncologist suggested that she participate in this challenge, she did not hesitate. “You don’t need to be an elite athlete, but take your training. It’s not an easy trek, it’s three days, but it’s not that it can’t be done either,” she considered.
They had to cross several rivers: the atuel, Barroso, Rosado and the one of the Tears, which drags so many minerals from the mountains that it makes you tear up, that’s where its name comes from. “We went with glasses, sunscreen, fully cared for. The organization of ten,” he said. The first and long-awaited journey lasted 7 and a half hours, where they stopped at a base camp and spent the night in tents. In parallel, other people related to the organization went on mules and horses carrying the food. The second day was 12 and a half hours: between 6 and 7 to go up and the rest to go down, being the most difficult. After so much sacrifice, finally Jorgelina reached the top.
“It was very exciting, you feel lucky to be able to do it, it has so much message… You realize that you are done. You don’t have schedules, you don’t have comfort, you don’t have anything, but that’s what’s wonderful, realizing that you can do the same without anything,” she said. The experience left her with many messages that parallel the diagnosis of breast cancer that she changed his life: “Not only having come, the experience on a physical level. You’re cold, you’re hot, tired, there are a lot of obstacles, you don’t have the comfort of your home, or your bed, bathroom, anything. You are with the mountain for three days. That silence. So it’s an internal journey, and that’s when you realize that you’re done.”
How is your relationship with Lalcec Bolívar and why did you take the flag to the top of the mountain?
A few years ago, from bolivar they approached the National College, where she works, with a project to work with sixth-year students to make early control of breast cancer visible. From there, they began to articulate much more. In fact, in 2022 she and another teacher were summoned for the 8m to make the mural in the eighth of the institution that is located on the corner of the streets Pellegrini y the heraswith many women being patients who had had the disease or were undergoing treatment.
“I always said that they counted on me for whatever they need and I always thank them for the selflessness with which they work. It’s not very visible there, but I’m close by, I admire them. How can I not contribute a grain of sand?” stressed. Jorgelina found out about his diagnosis thanks to these preventive controls that he has at Lalcec as the bearer of that message. However, she never gave up.
“I never split. It was quite deep, if it weren’t for these checks, I would have continued to advance. In my case, in six months it had doubled. That’s what’s important, early checks,” he said. That is why when the challenge arose in the Valley of Tearsdid not hesitate to carry the flag of bolivar: “I told myself that I have to carry their flag to make the prevention message visible.”
The contact he had with the survivors of the Miracle of the Andes
“They sent us strength, advice and a lot of PDF files with information, books or data that we had to look at,” said the Visual Arts teacher. And she applied a parallel between the accident and her illness: “When their plane crashes, it’s like when they gave us the diagnosis, there are a lot of analogies. One of the messages that stuck with me is that we all have our own mountain range at one point in life, and we don’t have to take it as the enemy, but something positive that will give us more strength to continue.”
Following his diagnosis, Jorgelina she said that “all the time I am looking for challenges, experiences, to feel alive. I am always challenging myself, doing something different to feel an adrenaline rush.” The stress of work, schedules and life itself, that went into the background, since he remarked that he took care of her. “The mountain has that, it makes you stop, slow down, feel a lot of experiences that you don’t realize in everyday life. That silence, that immensity… is wonderful. You recharge with energy. I recommend it to everyone, it’s a before and after, “she emphasized.